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Law Enforcement Leaders Demand That Congress Act Now To Reduce Gun Violence

New Ad Features Police Chiefs and Other Law Enforcement Leaders from Across the U.S. Saying Now is the Time for Common-Sense Reforms Like Background Checks for All Gun Sales

Background Checks Save Lives and Help Police Catch Criminals; Polls Show Overwhelming Support for Background Checks; www.DemandAction.org

NEW YORK, March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released a new ad featuring law enforcement leaders from across the country calling on Congress to pass background checks for all gun sales to save lives and help police catch criminals. The ad can be viewed at www.DemandAction.org/police.

Background checks prevent felons, domestic abusers, the severely mentally ill, and other dangerous people from buying guns. But they also serve another purpose: when licensed gun dealers perform these checks, they retain a receipt with identifying information about the gun. These records provide a vital paper trail for police to combat gun traffickers and track down criminals before they strike again.  In the states that go beyond federal law to require checks for private sales, data from those sales allow law enforcement to trace the gun to the private market and solve crimes.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns has documented some of these cases in this fact sheet.

"Our nation's law enforcement officials know better than anyone what it takes to protect our communities from gun violence, and they know that background checks help save lives," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "They have dedicated their lives to protecting the public, and as Congress debates our nation's gun laws, their voices deserve to be heard."

"Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our neighborhoods and our families," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "They are gun owners, hunters, supporters of the Second Amendment, and NRA members. And they agree that background checks on all gun purchases is a commonsense measure that will keep guns out of the wrong hands, help them do their jobs, and make our communities safer."

Law enforcement leaders in the new ad are (in alphabetical order):

  • Executive Director Joseph Akers, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), Alexandria, Virginia
  • Chief Kent Barker, Vice President at Large, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Chief Terrence Cunningham, Wellesley, Massachusetts
  • Chief Dwight Henninger, Vail, Colorado
  • Chief Jim Johnson, Baltimore County, Maryland
  • Chief Joseph H. Lumpkin, Sr., Athens- Clarke County, Georgia
  • Captain Victor McCraw, Arizona National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Chapter President 
  • Executive Assistant Chief Martha Montalvo, Houston, Texas
  • Deputy Chief William Nagle, Denver, Colorado
  • Chief Susan Riseling, Executive Committee Member, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Captain Perry Tarrant, Tucson, Arizona
  • Director Michael Webster, McDaniel College, Maryland

The ad will air nationally on cable today and throughout the week on Washington, D.C. cable and on broadcast in home states of some of the participants in the ad. 

Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed "private sellers" who are not required to conduct a federal check,[1] and who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet – indicating that about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer.[2] This loophole allows dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns – including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill – to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.

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