Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S. Conference of Mayors President, Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin, on the shooting at a municipal center in Virginia Beach:

“When will it stop?  Once again we must speak out as we grapple with the loss of innocent lives to needless gun violence.  This time the shootings occurred at the municipal center in Virginia Beach.  Twelve people were killed, 11 of them Virginia Beach employees.  Several more people were wounded, including a brave police officer trying to stop the shooter.  Countless lives were changed forever because of the incident.

“The nation’s mayors extend our condolences to the victims, their families and friends, and the entire Virginia Beach community.  We stand with Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Police Chief James Cervera who are leading their city through this devastating time. And we praise the bravery and skill of the police officers who responded quickly and engaged in a gun battle with the shooter which eventually stopped his deadly rampage.

“Some say this isn’t the time to call for sensible gun safety legislation.  But if not now, when?  What will it take for our country to do something about the epidemic of gun violence we face?  There are bills now that will help.  They have passed the House and are pending in the Senate.  The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress and the Administration to quickly enact sensible legislation that will begin to reduce gun violence in our country.”