In Support of Gun Safety Legislation to Ban the Use of Large Capacity Magazines and Strengthen the National Background Check System

Adopted at the 79th Winter Meeting in 2011

  • WHEREAS, on the morning of January 8, 2011, gunshots fired in one of our nation's great cities reverberated through all of our cities; and

    WHEREAS, a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl were among the six people killed that day in Tucson, and Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the shooting rampage, was among the 13 more who were wounded; and

    WHEREAS, the shooter was able to hit 19 people in a matter of seconds because he was using a high-capacity magazine, and was stopped from wounding or killing even more only because he had to reload; and

    WHEREAS, prior to Tucson, high capacity magazines were used in the most notorious and deadly mass shootings in America, including the massacres on the Long Island Railroad, in Luby's restaurant, at Columbine, at Virginia Tech, and at Fort Hood; and

    WHEREAS, for 10 years federal law banned the use of large capacity magazines as part of the assault weapons ban, but that law was allowed to expire in 2004; and

    WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in the House, and will shortly be introduced in the Senate, that would ban magazines of more than 10 rounds and close a loophole in the previous ban in which magazines manufactured before the law went into effect could be sold or transferred; and

    WHEREAS, the recent shooting in Tucson also reveals that millions of records are still missing from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), enabling prohibited purchasers, including the mentally ill and drug abusers, to pass background checks and purchase firearms from licensed gun dealers; and

    WHEREAS, after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, Congress passed the 'NICS Improvement Act,' designed to increase the number of mental health records submitted by states to the federal background check database, but has so far appropriated only 5.3 percent of funding necessary to implement the reforms; and

    WHEREAS, while licensed gun dealers are required to run criminal background checks on all buyers, loopholes in the law, such as the so-called 'Gun Show Loophole,' enable criminals to avoid background checks if they purchase firearms from private sellers who are not federally licensed; and

    WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has had long standing policy supporting gun safety, which includes support for the assault weapons ban and a call for its reinstatement, and for strengthening the national background check system and eliminating loopholes in it,

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors strongly supports the Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act (H.R. 308) and commends New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy, herself a victim of a mass shooting, for introducing this important legislation so quickly after the tragedy occurred in Tucson, and New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg for his commitment to introducing the bill in the Senate; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors pledges to mobilize mayors across the nation to work toward prompt passage of this legislation which would help ensure the safety of all Americans; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors calls on the President of the United States to make passage of this legislation a priority of his Administration; and

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to fully fund the 2007 NICS Improvement Act; make other modifications to ensure that all records of felons, mentally ill, and drug abusers actually are in the system; and close loopholes in the law, such as the 'Gun Show Loophole,' to ensure that criminals, the mentally ill, and drug abusers do not slip through cracks in the background check system.

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