7/9/2009 - Ten months ago the Pennsylvania Coalition of Mayors Against
Illegal Guns had seven members taking a stand in Reading's City Hall. Since
then, membership has grown to 103 mayors across the state, the group said
"This is a true milestone," said Mayor Tom McMahon, who formed the group and
is its chairman. "In Pennsylvania, our mayors have attended too many funerals
for our citizens as well as for police officers shot in the line of duty.
"Illegal guns aren't just a big city problem anymore; their terrible impact
is felt in smaller cities and towns as well."
The coalition said gun violence sparked a near-record rise in homicides in
Pittsburgh last year; a little girl was murdered with an illegal gun on Mother's
Day in York; and seven more law enforcement officers were shot and killed in the
line of duty in the state.
"The reason 100 mayors from across Pennsylvania have joined the fight for
common sense gun safety is because hundreds of thousands of families across
Pennsylvania are tired of waiting for Washington and Harrisburg to act,"
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said.
He noted that eight cities, including Reading, have passed ordinances
requiring owners to report lost or stolen handguns to police.
"Police departments need our support to keep guns out of the hands of
criminals," said Mayor Joyce Somers of Murrysville, Westmoreland County. "This
is not about the Second Amendment; it's about law enforcement."
The coalition said it's working with law enforcement to punish criminals who
possess and traffic in illegal guns; to hold accountable irresponsible gun
dealers who knowingly sell guns to straw purchasers; and to support local, state
and federal moves to reduce accessibility to illegal handguns by criminals.
In addition to McMahon, coalition member mayors in Berks County are Robert
Myers of Birdsboro; Marianne V. Deery of Boyertown; Sandra K. Green of Kutztown;
Fred Feltenberger of Laureldale; Richard Trostle of Mohnton; Joshua Nowotarski
of Mount Penn; Frank W. Schnee of Robesonia; and Shane J. Keller of West