NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety today released the following statement today applauding the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors for passing resolutions calling on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to require background checks on all gun sales and for state legislatures and Congress to pass Extreme Risk laws, also called Red Flag laws. The conference also passed resolutions to support cities using their purchasing power to support smart gun technology and to encourage responsible behavior by gun dealers.
“Cities are on the frontlines of America’s gun violence crisis, so it’s no surprise that mayors are at the forefront of the movement to pass common-sense gun laws,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Now it’s time for our leaders in Washington to follow the lead of America’s mayors and push through the slate of gun safety bills making their way through Congress.”
“Mayors understand the need for taking real action to reduce gun violence in our communities,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, chair of the Mayors and Police Chiefs Task Force. “These are practical solutions, like Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which are real tools for police and family members to intervene when someone is clearly at high risk of hurting others or committing suicide.”
It’s now been more than 100 days since the U.S. House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require background checks on all gun sales, but the U.S. Senate has thus far failed to take action. An investigation by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund found that in 2018 alone, there were nearly 1.2 million gun ads on an online gun marketplace called Armslist.com for gun sales where no background check was legally required. Of those looking to purchase firearms from unlicensed sellers on Armslist.com, 1 in 9 prospective buyers had prohibiting histories or status – a rate over 7 times higher than buyers who fail background checks at licensed dealers or in other contexts where background checks are required.
Red Flag laws allow families and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to guns when there is evidence that person poses a serious threat to him- or herself or others. When someone is in a state of crisis, or threatening violence against themselves or other people, access to a firearm can mean the difference between life and death. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have passed a Red Flag law, in fact, twelve states did so after the Parkland mass shooting, and five of them have been signed by Republican governors.