Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin on the shooting at the offices of The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD:

“The tragedy that took place at The Capital Gazette, the 154th mass shooting to take place in our country in 2018 alone, was preventable. The ease of obtaining and keeping a gun in our nation has turned a dispute into a deadly incident in which five people were killed and two more injured.

Journalists, the keepers of truth and justice in our society who are much maligned by some in our government today, were the target — a truly troubling and disturbing series of events.

The United States Conference of Mayors stands with Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and the Annapolis community at this difficult time.  America’s mayors will keep the victims, their families and their colleagues in their hearts and prayers. Our nation must come to grips with its gun problem, and it needs to do so now.

Earlier this month at our 86th Annual Meeting, the Conference of Mayors adopted policy pledging to stand with the young people and adults committed to seeing reasonable gun safety policies become reality and to reduce gun violence in our cities. We further pledged to redouble our efforts to see reasonable national gun safety legislation enacted in Washington as quickly as possible. Now is the time for action.”