Riley joins other mayors in push for gun legislation

Published: Mar. 7, 2013 at 7:12 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2013 at 8:03 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Mayor Joe Riley and many other mayor from across the country have released a new PSA demanding Congress take action to prevent gun violence.

The PSA marks a transition in the coalition's campaign from demanding a plan to demanding that Congress take action to pass legislation to require background checks for all sales, limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime.  The bipartisan coalition now includes more than 900 mayors from 45 states and more than 1.4 million grassroots supporters.

The PSA can be viewed here:

The coalition's call for action follows new polls released this week showing that likely voters in a wide range of states and congressional districts overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun sales. The average support for background checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent.  The findings of these surveys can be found at

"Americans overwhelmingly support background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "Now it's time for Congress to stand with their constituents to pass a law requiring background checks for all gun sales – and to take other common sense steps that will save lives."

"Mayors are on the front lines in the fight against gun violence – that's why so many have joined our coalition since Newtown," Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. "The numbers don't lie – support for background checks and other sensible reforms is clear. That's why we're demanding our leaders in Washington help us to protect our communities and keep our children safe. Now is the time for action."

"Our gun murder rate is 20 times that of other developed countries. Commonsense laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals will save lives," said Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.  "Now is the time for Congress to pass widely supported public safety measures to reduce the toll of gun violence in America – and right here in South Carolina."

Under current federal law, only licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks on potential buyers.

Around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed "private sellers" who are not required to conduct a federal check, and who often do business at gun shows and on the Internet – indicating that about 6.6 million guns are transferred in the U.S. every year with no background check for the buyer.This "private sale loophole" allows dangerous people who are already prohibited from buying guns – including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill – to avoid a background check by simply avoiding licensed dealers.

The release states evidence demonstrates that background checks save lives.  For example, in the fourteen states that already require background checks for all gun sales:

  • Gun trafficking is 48 percent lower than in states that fail to require background checks for all handgun sales
  • In 2010, the rate of women murdered by an intimate partner with a gun was 38 percent lower than in other states, while the rate murdered by other means was nearly identical
  • The firearm suicide rate was 49 percent lower than in other states, even though people committed suicide in other ways at almost precisely the same rate

Mayors featured in the PSA released today include (in order of appearance):

  • Mayor Thomas Menino - Boston
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg- South Bend, IN
  • Mayor Michael Nutter- Philadelphia
  • Mayor Jim Suttle- Omaha, NE
  • Mayor R.T. Rybak- Minneapolis, MN
  • Mayor David Coss- Santa Fe, NM
  • Mayor Paul Dyster- Niagara Falls, NY
  • Mayor Sal Panto- Easton, PA
  • Mayor John Linder- Chester, PA
  • Mayor Helene Schneider- Santa Barbara, CA
  • Mayor Craig Lowe- Gainesville, FL
  • Mayor Ed Pawlowski- Allentown, PA
  • Mayor Brenda Lawrence- Southfield, MI
  • Mayor Pedro Segarra- Hartford, CT
  • Mayor Linda Thompson- Harrisburg, PA
  • Mayor Ed Lee- San Francisco
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger- Burlington, VT
  • Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt- Chapel Hill, NC
  • Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson- Gary IN
  • Mayor Joy Cooper- Hollandale Beach, FL
  • Mayor Virgil Bernero- Lansing, MI
  • Mayor Christopher Cabaldon- West Sacramento, CA
  • Mayor Rick Gray- Lancaster, PA
  • Mayor Mike Ryan- Sunrise, FL
  • Mayor Joseph Riley- Charleston, SC
  • Mayor Bill Bell- Durham, NC
  • Mayor Jonathan Mitchell- New Bedford, MA
  • Mayor Beth Talabisco- Tamarac, FL
  • Mayor Gloria Chavez- Tijeras, NM
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg- New York City