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Statements On Connecticut Legislature's Passage Of Comprehensive Background Checks, Tougher Assault Weapons Ban, And Limits On Ammunition Magazines

After Tragedy in Newtown, State Lawmakers Pass Commonsense Gun Reform to Help Save Lives; Polls Show Overwhelming National Support for Background Checks; www.DemandAction.org

NEW YORK, April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following the Connecticut Legislature's passage of gun safety legislation that includes comprehensive and enforceable background checks, a strengthened assault weapons ban, and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines, the co-chairs of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, as well as families who lost loved ones in Newtown and Connecticut mayors, issued the below statements.

Last week, in an effort to persuade state legislators to take action to reduce gun violence following the tragedy in Newtown, Mayors Against Illegal Guns – which includes a bipartisan group of 16 Connecticut mayors – released the first television ad featuring family members of those killed at Sandy Hook calling on political leaders to support sensible reforms like comprehensive and enforceable background checks. The ad can be viewed here: www.DemandAction.org/Newtown-Families.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chairs

"As Americans of both political parties continue to demand action from our elected officials to reduce gun violence, states like Connecticut are taking the lead by passing commonsense gun safety reforms that will help save lives," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "The state's legislators demonstrated their commitment to honoring the memory of those lost in Newtown – and I thank them and Governor Malloy for their leadership.  Now we need lawmakers in Washington to follow suit so that we can protect communities – and children – across the country."

" Connecticut's vote shows the rest of America that the tragedy in Newtown will not be forgotten or ignored," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "The people of Connecticut have turned their grief into action, and the time has come for Congress to follow their lead. Our elected officials in Washington should stand with the people, and the loved ones of the 33 Americans who fall victim to gun violence every day."

Newtown Families

Neil Heslin, Father of Jesse Lewis "The legislation passed in Hartford will go a long way toward reducing gun violence in Connecticut, but it's not enough. All across the country, children just like my murdered son, Jesse, remain vulnerable because of their state's weak gun laws. Congress must act now to expand background checks and keep weapons of war off our streets."

Chris and Lynn McDonnell, Parents of Grace McDonnell "No one can bring our daughter Grace back, but we can work together to ensure that this senseless tragedy doesn't happen to other families. Connecticut's lawmakers have come together to protect our state's children, and we thank them for their leadership. However, so many young people in other states continue to be at risk of gun violence. Congress must follow Connecticut's lead by passing comprehensive legislation to protect Americans."

Matt Rousseau, Brother of Lauren Rousseau " Connecticut has taken a huge step forward to make sure the tragedy that has befallen our family doesn't strike the lives of others in the future. But we need a national solution to comprehensively reduce the senseless killings that are plaguing our communities. The survivors and family members of victims of gun violence demand action from Congress."

Jillian Soto, Sister of Vicki Soto "In passing this legislation, Connecticut has honored the life of my sister, Vicki, and the lives of all who were murdered with a gun at Sandy Hook Elementary. Congress should follow our state's example and summon the courage that Vicki showed when she died protecting her students by passing commonsense reform that will save the lives of countless Americans." 

Connecticut Mayors

Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. of New Haven "The bipartisan bill the Connecticut General Assembly has put forth is a great piece of legislation that is thoughtful and thorough. It addresses all types of gun violence and includes provisions that will help prevent both mass shootings like the tragedy in Newtown as well as the gun violence that is experienced everyday in cities across America. Without trampling Second Amendment rights, it includes provisions that will ensure that Connecticut's schools, streets, and neighborhoods are safer. My hope is that the standard laid out here will now resonate in the halls of Congress so that the nation can be ensured the same safeguards. There is no excuse for federal inaction."

Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport "By passing comprehensive gun safety legislation, Connecticut's legislators stood with the overwhelming majority of Americans who have demanded action to help save lives. It's a proud day for our state, but we need to make sure that meaningful reform doesn't end here. We need to continue demanding action from our leaders in Congress so that we can end our national epidemic of gun violence."

Mayor Richard Moccia of Norwalk " Connecticut's state legislators have worked hard to craft a bill that will prevent future violence without infringing on anyone's Second Amendment freedoms. In doing so, our elected officials have proven that politicians from both sides of the aisle can come together to responsibly reduce crime. Now it's Washington's turn. Gun violence is a national problem that requires a national solution, and Connecticut will be vulnerable to the weaker gun laws of other states so long as Congress refuses to act."

Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford "It is an historic day for the State of Connecticut. Our legislature passed a bill that includes a ban on high-capacity magazines, addresses mental illness in a comprehensive and meaningful way, and implements universal background checks. It's bipartisan legislation that pays tribute to the victims of Newtown, and I applaud our Legislature for their leadership. My next wish is for Congress to follow Connecticut's lead and specifically focus on decreasing the flow of illegal weapons across state boarders. We've proven that we'll do everything possible locally to prevent gun violence – but to have true impact, change also needs to happen at the federal level."

About Mayors Against Illegal GunsSince its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.  Learn more at www.MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org

CONTACTS Erika Soto Lamb: esotolamb@rabengroup.com or 646-580-5281 Alex Katz: akatz1@cityhall.nyc.gov or 617-721-3779

Contact: Mayor Bloomberg's Press Office          (212) 788-2958Mayor Menino's Press Office               (617) 635-4461

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