West Hartford's mayor is among a bipartisan coalition of more than 750 mayors nationwide who this week signed a letter to the president asking for a comprehensive gun violence prevention package just days after the Dec. 14 massacre of 27 people at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.
West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka said he has been involved with the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns for several years.
"As a parent and as a mayor I will not sleep soundly until semi-automatic weapons are not only banned but are off our streets," Slifka said.
“I believe wholeheartedly we need to control firearms in this country,” said Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, who also signed the letter. “Thirty-four people per day are killed by firearms. Our country is saturated with automatic weapons. Every three to six months, some kind of mass shooting tragedy takes place in this country. “
The MAIG letter (read the full text in the pdf at right) says more than 750 mayors has joined forces with over 700,000 Americans and more than 100 survivors of deadly shootings to urge Obama and Congress to enact an agenda "rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them."
That agenda, according to MAIG, should:
- Require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check
- Get high capacity rifles and ammunition magazines off our streets
- Make gun trafficking a federal crime
"Those ideas require action by Congress, but there steps you and your Administration could and should take immediately to curb gun violence," the letter reads.
- Appoint an ATF director
- Prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines
- Require federal agencies to report records to NICS
- Repeal remaining Tiahrt restrictions (provisions attached to federal spending bills that make it harder for law enforcement officers to aggressively pursue criminals who buy and sell illegal guns).
Slifka said the time for this legislation is long overdue.
"My job is to keep our kids safe. That requires a semi-automatic weapon ban now," he said.