By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster joined a group of more than 825 mayors from across the country in supporting the list of initiatives aimed at curbing gun violence that were announced by President Barack Obama on Wednesday.
Dyster participated in an advocacy day organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun control advocacy group co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as part of a week-long trip to Washington, D.C.
Dyster said the group has many gun owners and hunters as members who support legislative solutions to the problem that will not erode Second Amendment rights. The mayor, who has several rifles in his home and is an avid hunter and outdoorsman, said the bipartisan group is looking for reasonable and measured solutions to the scourge of gun violence in America.
"It's important to have real propositions that will stand the smell test for people who know guns well," Dyster said. "I think the way you protect [the Second Amendment] is by coming forth and being reasonable in a time of national crisis in trying to find real solutions."
Gun control was thrust into the national spotlight after a series of mass shootings, most recently the murder of 20 elementary school students and six adults at a Newtown, Conn. school in December.
Obama rolled out a list of 23 executive orders and announced planned legislation that would ban new assault rifles, expand the requirements for background checks for people purchasing guns, put limits on the size of ammunition magazines and toughen laws on gun trafficking.
His plan also calls for an end to the freeze on gun research, conducting research into links between gun violence and violence in video games and films, tougher laws for people found to be in possession of illegal firearms, allowing for armed police in schools and strengthening federal support for mental health services.
Dyster said the strengthening of background checks was one of the most promising parts of the plan.
Regional gun shows in New York state have voluntarily started to use wireless Internet to perform background checks on site, something that Dyster says could and should be happening everywhere.
"I don't think that means gun shows need to go away, but that they need to become more technologically savvy," Dyster said.