Group Calls for Enforcement of Gun Laws
As both sides in the raging debate on gun control say, enforcing the laws on the books is the best way to curtail gun violence. However, they differ greatly with regards to the interpretation of that objective.
In the middle of the debate is a nationwide coalition of over 550 mayors, which include Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, as well as 184 others in Pennsylvania. The coalition hopes to position itself as the voice of reason between the two opposing sides.
The group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns was formed in 2006 by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. They have called for better federal funding, as well as improved coordination between concerned agencies in order to make the enforcement of gun laws a likelihood.
However, both the gun lobby groups and pro-gun lawmakers argue that the mayors’ group has a more sinister agenda. They claim that the mayors are putting the burden of tracking illegal guns on law-abiding gun owners, and eventually, push for the banning of all firearms.
The mayors’ group has contributed to the defeat of a legislation that would permit gun owners with concealed-weapons permit in a particular state to carry a concealed firearm in another.
The group wanted federal trace data about guns that have been used in crimes available to law enforcement agencies and to furnish the public summary reports of these trace data.
National Rifle Association spokeswoman Rachel Parsons, in reaction to these moves by the mayors’ group, said, “They are waging war against law abiding gun owners.”
According to several members of the mayors’ group, however, the depiction of their coalition as anti-firearms is off base. Most of them have expressed support for the Second Amendment right to bear arms.