March 28, 2013

Mass. Delegation Unanimous in Support for Universal Gun Background Checks

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In honor of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition's "National Day to Demand Action," all eleven members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation today pledged their support for universal gun background checks as a common sense reform to help end gun violence.

"It is long past time for the Senate to pass common sense gun control measures that will help protect our kids and make our communities safer," said Sen. Warren. "I applaud the leadership of Mayor Menino and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. We can reduce gun violence by requiring background checks, by banning assault weapons, and by collecting better data about gun deaths. A day of action gives us all a chance to reaffirm our commitment to the safety of our children."

"Every day that passes since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary as many as thirty-three Americans are killed in our communities by gun violence. That means that each day we are repeating the senseless tragedy that killed twenty-six in Newtown last December. But, we have now a chance to finally pass commonsense reforms like universal background checks that respect and preserve the second amendment but also help keep guns out of the hands of those who cannot have them legally," said Sen. Cowan. "It is our duty to put forward reforms that will protect our children and families from gun violence. I hope to have the opportunity during my short time in Washington to see Congress come together and unite behind smart gun safety measures that can save lives."

"Opponents of gun controls often like to say that people kill people, not the guns. Then there should be no opposition whatsoever to checking whether people are responsible enough to own a gun," said Rep. Markey. "Along with universal background checks, we need a strong assault weapons ban and a prohibition against high capacity ammunition magazines. It's time to get these military-style weapons off of our streets and to prevent deadly weapons from falling into the wrong hands."

"Along with millions of Americans across our country, I am committed to passing commonsense legislation that includes comprehensive background checks," said Rep. Tierney. "This proposal would help protect our children and make communities safer, and it is a reasonable step we should all be able to get behind."

"I believe the American family needs to have a candid conversation about the scourge of gun violence in our nation. We need to find common sense solutions that will protect our children and our communities from mindless acts of violence," said Rep. Neal. "There is no good reason why this issue should polarize America. And a good place to start is with universal background checks and closing the gun show loopholes."

"Requiring background checks on all gun sales is just one part of a comprehensive, common sense approach to reducing gun violence," said Congressman Lynch. "I am proud to stand with my Massachusetts colleagues in support of universal background checks and I applaud Mayor Menino's leadership on this issue. Our nation has witnessed enough senseless violence. It is time for Congress to act. Together, we can help protect our children and keep our communities safer."

"I have long supported universal background checks for gun purchases, and I'm pleased to see that the Senate has begun working on this critical issue," said Rep. McGovern. "I hope that the House will take up similar legislation during the 113th Congress to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, the seriously mentally ill, and other dangerous people. Universal background checks are a vital component of comprehensive gun violence prevention efforts, and Congress must act now."

"As a District Attorney for 12 years, I have seen the effects of gun violence in very concrete terms," said Rep. Keating. "No one's rights are infringed upon with universal background checks and their sole purpose is to protect the public. Background checks will be a constructive step towards enhancing our public safety."

"I applaud Mayors Against Illegal Guns and activists all over the country who are speaking out in support of gun control. It is long past time to take action and there is so much we can do to tighten laws while still respecting the 2nd amendment," said Rep. Capuano. "There is overwhelming support, even among gun owners, for universal background checks. There is no reason to wait on this common sense requirement that will save lives."

"Since the tragedy in Newtown rocked our national conscience, our entire nation has rightfully engaged in a discussion about the accessibility of high capacity weapons in our country and the culture of violence we live in. This conversation is long overdue. It is simply not an option to allow this discussion to become stagnant or to be bullied into silence by seemingly untouchable organizations," said Rep. Tsongas. "While I believe that the Constitution confers a right to own firearms, I also believe that our laws should be able to reasonably control gun manufacturing, sale, and usage to ensure that firearms are used safely and responsibly. Universal background checks are a vital step in that process and toward greater public safety."

"Over the past decade there have been too many lives lost, families broken and communities shattered by our inability to keep powerful weapons out of dangerous hands," said Rep. Kennedy. "I'm proud to stand with Mayor Menino, my fellow members of the Massachusetts delegation, and millions of Americans across the country in supporting background checks and demanding reform."

"Never before have so many Americans come together to say ‘enough is enough' and demand action from our leaders in Washington," said Mayor Menino. "I am proud of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation. They stand united as leaders for background checks on all gun sales and have always answered the call for the safety of the residents of our neighborhoods. On this day of action across the United States, the message from the American people is represented best by our Massachusetts Delegation: we want common sense reforms that keep guns out of the wrong hands."

A recent poll by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that in 41 key congressional districts across the nation, 89 percent of likely voters are in favor of requiring background checks for all gun sales in addition to 82 percent of gun owners - including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members who endorsed mandatory criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun. There are 6.6 million guns transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer, but in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all handgun sales, gun trafficking is 48 percent lower, the rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower and the firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a national, bipartisan coalition of mayors that was co-founded in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The coalition has grown from a committed group of 15 members to more than 900 mayors from 45 states, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents from major cities and small towns around the country. Mayors Against Illegal Guns advocates for common-sense measures that will close deadly gaps in our gun laws and make sure law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to detect and deter gun trafficking. For more information visit