Washington, D.C.— Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has reissued a letter from August of 2019, calling on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to take swift action and pass two bills to finally address the toll that gun violence has taken on Americans across the country. The letter was sent by a bipartisan group of 255 mayors from 43 states and Washington, DC to the U.S. Senate, and new mayors have now joined the effort. The House passed the two bills highlighted in the letter more than one year ago, and they are pending in the Senate. The full letter with signatures can be found here. The text of the reissued letter referencing the recent mass shootings is below:
In response to the recent tragedies in Uvalde and Buffalo and the continuing increase in gun violence that is plaguing our cities and our people across this nation, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is reissuing the letter sent by more than 200 mayors to the United States Senate in August of 2019. The same two bills passed the House more than one year ago and are again pending in the Senate: H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act. We have updated the list of original signatories and removed those mayors who no longer are in office and are adding new mayors who have asked to be listed.
August 8, 2019
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate (KY)
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate (NY)
Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:
RE: Senate Action Needed NOW on Gun Safety Legislation
On behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors, we urge you to immediately call the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation.
Already in 2019, there have been over 250 mass shootings. The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are just the latest reminders that our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them.
In late February, the House of Representatives passed two bills that would greatly strengthen the background check system:
- H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019
- H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019
H.R. 8 passed the House on February 27 on a bipartisan vote of 240-190. It would close serious loopholes in the background check system by:
- requiring all firearm purchases to undergo a NICS background check;
- helping to prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining deadly weapons by circumventing the laws on the books;
- prohibiting unlicensed transfers of guns through unregulated secondary sales; and
- increasing law enforcement’s ability to trace crime guns.
H.R. 1112 passed the House on February 28 on a bipartisan vote of 228-198. If this bill had been law in 2015, the terrible tragedy that occurred at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston might have been avoided. The bill would extend the background check review period deadline from three to 10 business days, to help ensure that background checks are completed before weapons are sold and that dangerous individuals who should not have them are unable to purchase them.
H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 are bipartisan, sensible gun safety bills that would make our cities and our people safer, and would in no way compromise gun owners’ rights.
We urge you to call the Senate back to session now to take up and pass these bills to help reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes in our cities and our nation.
Quick passage of these bills is a critical step to reducing gun violence in our country. The United States Conference of Mayors stands ready to work with Congress, the Administration and others to develop holistic remedies to the scourge of gun violence. America has proven time and again that we can rise to our most difficult challenges. We look forward to working with you to find a way forward to protect our citizens from this senseless carnage.
CC: United States Senate