America’s mayors are calling for the Senate to take up legislation that passed through the U.S. House that would strengthen background checks for those wishing to purchase firearms. Their open letter cites “250 mass shootings” that have happened in 2019, which includes all shootings of four or more people, regardless of whether they live or die. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is one of 214 mayors calling for the Senate to take up those two bills. He joins nine other Texas colleagues: the mayors of El Paso, San Antonio, Arlington, Austin, Fort Worth, Brownsville, Plano, Houston, and Rowlett.
One of the bills approved by the House would require an background check for any purchase of a firearm, including at gun shows, from private dealers, and over the internet. As it stands, those don’t require background checks. The Democratic-controlled House passed the bill in February with a 240-190 vote, which included eight Republicans in support. McConnell hasn’t moved the bill to the floor, and President Donald Trump has said he opposes it. The other bill extends the time that the feds have to conduct a background check for the sale of a gun. McConnell hasn’t moved on that one, either.
Here’s what the mayors have to say about that:
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.
Here is Johnson’s statement about the letter, which references last weekend’s shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, as well as the July 7, 2016 shooting of police officers in Dallas:
The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton are just the latest reminders that our nation’s leaders need to act and to act now. As Mayor of Dallas, my first responsibility is to make sure our residents are safe. I grieve with my friends Mayor Dee Margo and Mayor Nan Whaley and the cities of El Paso and Dayton. We know firsthand here in Dallas, after the tragic events of July 7, 2016, the effect these senseless acts of violence have on our communities.