Local mayors join national protest against gun violence
One month after 20 children and six adults were massacred at a Connecticut elementary school, nearly a dozen Delaware County mayors from both major parties came together Monday to call on national leaders to restrict assault weapons and curb gun violence.
The news conference in Media was one of a number held nationwide Monday by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns to push for change and to announce the release of a television advertisement featuring family members of gunshot victims.
"We don't want people to forget what happened out there," Collingdale Mayor Frank Kelly, a Republican, of the Dec. 14 shooting spree that claimed the lives of 20 students and six school staff members, said before the event. "We want Congress to act on it."
Media Mayor Robert McMahon, a Democrat and a former infantryman who served in Vietnam, said, "I believe only the military and law enforcement should have military-style assault weapons." He was also interviewed before the news conference.
Last month, Adam Lanza, 20, toting assault weapons, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He had already killed his mother, a gun enthusiast. Lanza killed himself at the school.
In addition to restricting assault weapons, the events called for criminal background checks for all gun sales and making gun trafficking a federal crime.
"We have a lot of guns on the streets. Most are illegal," said Chester City Mayor John Linder, a Democrat, after the news conference. "We need a lot of assistance ... to minimize the number of these guns available."
Mayors Against Illegal Guns was started in 2006 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. It has grown from 15 mayors to more than 800, including 204 in Pennsylvania and 77 in New Jersey, and more than one million members, according to spokesmen.
At a summit on gun violence Monday at Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg released "Access Denied," a Mayors Against Illegal Guns report that faults the U.S. government as having made too little research into gun violence and that puts much blame on the Washington gun lobby.
Since Sandy Hook, the calls to curb gun violence have grown. The National Rifle Association responded by advocating armed guards in the nation's schools.
To access the Mayors Against Illegal Guns report or view the advertisement, go to: http://www.demandaplan.org/
Contact Rita Giordano
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