77th Annual Meeting

COMMON SENSE MEASURES IN SUPPORT OF EFFORTS TO FIGHT ILLEGAL GUNS

WHEREAS, on April 25, 2006 a bipartisan group of fifteen Mayors met in New York City at the Mayor's Summit on Illegal Guns, co-chaired by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, to begin a nationwide effort to fight illegal guns; and

WHEREAS, today, over 350 mayors, representing over 56 million people across the United States, are now members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns; and

WHEREAS, 30,000 Americans across the country are killed every year as a result of gun violence, destroying families and communities in big cities and small towns; and

WHEREAS, illegal guns from the United States are posing problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) estimating that at least 90 percent of guns that are recovered at nationwide effort to fight illegal guns; and

WHEREAS, as Mayors, we are duty-bound to do everything in our power to protect our residents, especially our children, from harm and there is no greater threat to public safety than the threat of illegal guns; and

WHEREAS, given all of this, we support five key measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, including repealing the Tiahrt Amendments and closing four gaps in the federal background check system; and

WHEREAS, the Tiahrt Amendments, which have been inserted into the Department of Justice appropriations bill each year since FY2003, place unnecessarily broad restrictions on access to and use of gun trace data that is compiled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Congress should repeal the Tiahrt Amendments; and

WHEREAS, licensed gun dealers are required to run criminal background checks on all buyers, but a loophole in the law enables criminals to avoid these checks if they buy from gun-sellers who do not have licenses. Often operating at gun shows, these unlicensed sellers give criminals the opportunity to sidestep the background check system and easily purchase guns. Congress should close the "gun show loophole; and

WHEREAS, the federal government can shut down a gun dealer for selling illegally, but it has nevertheless permitted dealers to sell off their inventory - without conducting background checks. Congress should end such gun dealer firesales; and

WHEREAS, under current law, if a person can't buy guns -because he or she has a criminal record or a history of mental illness - that person cannot sell guns either. But the law fails to require dealers to conduct background checks on their employees, even though they already use the background check system in their stores every day. Congress should require gun store employee background checks; and

WHEREAS, seven years after 9/11, the federal government can stop suspects on terror watch lists from getting on airplanes, but it cannot stop them from buying firearms. Congress should close the "Terror Gap",

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to enact legislation that would prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals by closing serious gaps in the gun background check system. USCM calls on Congress to close the gun show loophole, end the gun dealer fire sales provision, require gun dealers to perform background checks on their employees, and close the terror gap; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to reject legislative proposals such as the Tiahrt amendment and others that limit our cities' ability to solve and prevent crime in our communities.