“We pledge to do what it takes to keep our kids, residents, and communities safe. We are calling on all Members of Congress to do the same.“
Washington, DC – Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) sent a letter to every member of Congress urging them to quickly enact stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of violent individuals and support stronger mental health systems. The letter was signed by more than 500 mayors, council members, and other local elected officials from all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Signers of the letter included Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
“The status quo isn’t working,” said NLC President Mayor Vince Williams of Union City, Georgia. “Congress must enact stronger laws that keep semi-automatic, assault-type weapons out of the hands of dangerous people seeking to do harm. There are common sense, widely supported practices like expanded criminal background checks that must be enacted without further delay. Public safety and Second Amendment rights needn’t be mutually exclusive.”
Local leaders see the horrific impacts of gun violence on their residents firsthand. They attend funerals and vigils, cry with community members, and have worked to adopt policies and programs aimed at preventing future tragedies. While action at the local level is important, federal action is also needed and long past due.
Consistent with the National League of Cities’ National Municipal Policy, which consists of consensus-driven federal policy positions crafted and approved by the bipartisan membership, the letter calls on Congress to quickly enact stronger laws that keep guns out of the hands of individuals who intend to commit violence, as well as support stronger mental health systems by:
- Shutting down the illegal sale and distribution of firearms and gun trafficking;
- Requiring a waiting period of up to 30 days for the purchase or transfer of all guns so that local police agencies may check the criminal and mental health status of purchasers;
- Banning the manufacture, sale, importation, or transfer of all automatic and semi-automatic assaulttype weapons;
- Requiring the Department of Justice to work closely with state and local law enforcement to aggressively target and hold accountable licensed and unlicensed individuals who break the law by knowingly selling or transferring firearms or ammunition to prohibited persons, gun traffickers or straw purchasers;
- Helping state and local governments enact extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws;
- Requiring every state to include people who have been adjudicated as mentally ill or have been committed to any mental institution to be registered as a prohibited person in the national instant criminal background check system;
- Establishing a national commission that consists of federal, state, and local officials, gun rights advocates, survivors of gun violence, law enforcement officials, and medical and mental health providers to recommend legislative solutions aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States;
- Ensuring that all Americans have access to adequate physical and mental health care, including mental health parity and the provision of comprehensive services to address mental health needs for persons with general mental health conditions, serious mental health diagnoses, and substance use disorders; and
- Increasing federal funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support data and indicators that will inform local strategy in cities and towns across our country as they address the issue of violence in their communities.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.