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Laurel, College Park Mayors Sign Letter for Tougher Gun Laws

The letter was also signed by coalition co-chairmen Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

College Park Mayor Andrew M. Fellows and Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe were among 12 mayors from Maryland and 750 mayors nationwide to sign a letter Wednesday urging President Barack Obama to push for tougher gun laws in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Newtown, CT.

“Together, we urge you to put forward an agenda that is rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them,” said the letter, signed by coalition co-chairmen Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and co-signed by a bipartisan coalition of mayors from across the country.

Click here to read the full letter.

The letter calls on Obama to push legislation to:

  • Require mandatory criminal background checks for anyone buying a gun.
  • Review the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and ban high-capacity rifles and ammunition magazines.
  • Make gun trafficking a federal crime.

While the above steps require congressional action, the coalition also is asking Obama to use his executive power to take immediate steps to curb gun violence. They are:

 

  • Appointing a director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, an agency that has not had a confirmed director in six years.
  • Prosecuting people, such as convicted felons, who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines despite being prohibited by law from doing so.
  • Requiring federal agencies to report mental health, substance abuse and other records, to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The reporting requirement is part of the NICS Improvement Act of 2007, but few federal agencies comply, the coalition writes.
  • Repealing remaining “Tiahrt restrictions.” Named for the sponsor of the federal budget amendments, former U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), critics say the restrictions make it harder for law enforcement agencies to curb gun violence by restricting access to information about gun sales.

Besides Moe and Fellows, the other Maryland mayors to sign the letter are:

  • Annapolis Mayor Joshua J. Cohen.
  • Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
  • Cumberland Mayor Brian K. Grim.
  • Easton Mayor Robert C. Willey.
  • Garrett Park Mayor Peter Benjamin.
  • Indian Head Mayor Dennis J. Scheessele.
  • Salisbury Mayor James Ireton, Jr.
  • Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin.
  • Takoma Park Mayor Bruce R. Williams.
  • Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I wonder if the did any research before they signed the letter, I doubt Andy Fellows did. Let's review shall we? Mandatory criminal background checks for firearms purchase - Yep, already a federal law.
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Review federal AWB from 2004 - how about we define and "assault weapon" before we ban it instead of banning something based on looks?
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Gun trafficing a federal crime - Yep, has been for 40+ years now.
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Appoint BATFE Director - This needs to happen, then maybe stupid US Government operations like "Fast and Furious" won't happen. Then the Attorney General won't have to invoke Executive Privelidge for illegal government operations when in front of congress.
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Prosecuting felons for buys weapons, ammo, when being prohibited to do so. - This one has been on the books for 40+ years. Really, this one is on the judges and prosecutors. If prosecutors would do their job and stop making plea deals and anyone committing a crime with a firearm gets the maximum sentence, there might be less crimes committed with firearms.
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Reporting Mental Health, drug addiction etc. by Federal Agencies. - It's not the Federal government that takes care of the mentally ill or the drug dependent, it's the states. States like Maryland, that to date, under federal mandate to do so, have only reported 3 records of mental illness to the federal NICS program. Not to mention that MD doesn't even use NICS for regulated firearms purchases (all handguns and some rifles), they have the Maryland State Police do the background check. How is this an efficient use of our state tax dollars when a federal solution is available and free to the state?
Dan Blasberg December 22, 2012 at 04:03 PM
TARHT Amendment - The amendment prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing information from its firearms trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a criminal investigation. Additionally, any data so released is inadmissible in a civil lawsuit. The Tiahrt Amendment is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, as it allows municipal police departments full access to ATF trace data in any criminal investigation. So what is the issue?

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