FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2013
MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS ON SENATE GUN REFORM BILL
Background Checks Save Lives and Help Police Catch Criminals; Polls Show Overwhelming National Support for Background Checks; www.DemandAction.org
Following Senator Harry Reid’s introduction of a gun reform bill including enforceable background checks, the co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino issued the following statements:
“Since the tragedy in Newtown, millions of Americans have demanded that Washington take action to prevent gun violence — and now commonsense legislation is one step closer to passage,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “I applaud Senator Reid for sending a bill to the Senate floor that includes comprehensive, enforceable background checks— and for emphasizing that to be effective, any bill that passes the Senate must include background checks. This sensible reform — with overwhelming support from Americans, including gun owners — will save lives and keep our communities safer. Senator Reid also ensured that limits on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will be brought to his chamber – these reasonable ideas deserve votes.”
“Senator Reid knows that requiring background checks for all gun sales will keep firearms out of the wrong hands and save countless lives,” said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “His actions are an important step forward in the fight to reduce gun violence, and I thank the Senator for his continued leadership on this critical issue.”
Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed “private sellers” who are not required to conduct a federal check,(1) and who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet – indicating that about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer.(2) This loophole allows dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns – including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill – to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.
(1) Philip J. Cook & Jens Ludwig, Guns in America, 1996, available online. 2,568 individuals, including 251 gun owners, were surveyed by telephone and asked how they obtained their firearms.
(2) In the 38 states that have not fully closed the private sale loophole, an estimated 9,856,984 background checks were conducted between November 2011 and November 2012, out of an estimated 16.5 million total firearm transfers in those states. 40 percent of this total—6.6 million transfers—occurred without background checks. Calculation based on FBI data. Available onlne
Evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives. For example, in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun sales:
- Gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales.(1)
- In 2010, the rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical.(2)
- The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate.(3)
Recent polls by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed likely voters in a wide range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent. The findings of these surveys can be found here. These findings are in line with recent independent polls that have found more than 90 percent of Americans support background checks for all buyers. Previous polling by Republican Frank Luntz for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also found that 82 percent of gun owners – including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members – support requiring criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun.
About Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.4 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country. The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable; demanding access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited purchasers to get guns. Learn more at www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org
1 Daniel Webster, Jon Vernick, & Maria Bulzacchelli, “Effects of State-Level Firearm Seller Accountability Policies on Firearm Trafficking,” Journal of Urban Health, July 2009.
2 U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2011.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005) [cited 2012 Dec. 20].
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