Niagara Gazette

March 7, 2013

Mayor Dyster joins gun control campaign

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster is taking part in a new ad campaign calling on members of the U.S. Congress to take additional steps to reduce gun violence.

Dyster joins a total of 30 mayors, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are participating in the public service announcements developed by the group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 

According a release issued by the group, the new PSA marks a transition in the coalition's campaign from demanding a plan to demanding that Congress take action to pass legislation to require background checks for all sales, limit military style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime. Supporters of the organization say the coalition now includes more than 900 mayors from 45 states and more than 1.4 million grassroots supporters.

"With 33 gun murders occurring each day, too many American families are torn apart by gun violence," Dyster said. "Gun reform is possible and the American public demands it. Our leadership in Washington can no longer ignore this crisis and must act now." 

Under the current law, only licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks on potential buyers. Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed "private sellers" who are not required to conduct a federal check, and how often do business at gun shows and on the Internet, indicating, according to the group, that 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer. Members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns say this "private sale loophole" allows dangerous people who are already prohibited from buying guns - including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill - to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers. 

The coalition's call for action follows new polls that Mayors Against Illegal Guns members say show likely voters in a wide range of states "overwhelmingly" support background checks for all gun sales. The surveys referenced by the group can be found at www.demandaction.org/polls. 

"Americans overwhelmingly support background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," Bloomberg said. "Now it's time for Congress to stand with their constituents to pass a law requiring background checks for all gun sales - and to take other common sense steps that will save lives." 

The new ad featuring Dyster and other mayors involved in the group can be viewed at www.demandaction.org/mayors.