(NEW YORK) — What do America’s mayors intend to do about gun violence?
The U.S. Conference of Mayors held its 90th annual meeting from June 3-6 in Reno, Nevada. Dozens of mayors convened to share their plans and agendas following the most recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.
Mayors have also been speaking about gun violence in their cities in other forums.
Beyond the mass shootings that make headlines, gun violence is a daily issue for big cities. As mayors can affect certain city gun laws that legislators may not be willing to enact statewide, some have also offered their thoughts on what to do about rampant gun violence.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams testified on Capitol Hill last week in favor of gun reform laws.
“We are facing a crisis that is killing more Americans than war. A crisis that is now the number one cause of death for our young people. A crisis that is flooding our cities with illegal guns faster than we can take them off the street,” Adams said during his testimony.
According to data from the mayor’s office, the New York Police Department removed more than 6,000 guns off the streets in 2021.
“The American public is saying, ‘let’s stop the over-proliferation of guns, and let’s keep dangerous people off the streets.’ That is what the majority of Americans are saying, but the extremes of both parties are not listening to the American people,” Adams said following his testimony.
In March, Adams revamped a preexisting specialized police unit that is focused on getting guns off the street, according to his office.
According to the May crime report from the New York Police Department, more than 3,000 guns have been taken off of the street from Jan. 1 to May 31. In that same period, the NYPD also reported 2,007 gun arrests — making for a 28-year high in gun arrests.
Adams added that he is hoping to see better use of technology to track weapons and limit the amount that gets brought into the city.
Adams said he is increasingly concerned about the upcoming Supreme Court decision regarding the right to carry concealed weapons.
At a press conference in Brooklyn last week, Adams also said that ruling in favor of concealed weapons would be a “worst case scenario,” and would specifically target dense areas such as the subway.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has focused on cutting down the number of guns on the street in the city.
“Los Angeles has become a national model by taking real action to reduce gun violence, and the result has been one of the lowest gun death rates per capita in the country. We’re continuing to take common sense steps to get guns off our streets and reduce the number of dangerous firearms in our neighborhoods, because we know that fewer guns means fewer chances for the accidents, tragedies, and crimes that devastate our families and communities,” Garcetti said in a statement to ABC News.
While in office, Garcetti placed a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines, enacted a safe storage law requiring guns to be stored and locked while at home and not in use, and mandated ammunition sellers keep records of ammunition sales.
According to Garcetti’s office, the work of the Los Angeles Police Department in recent years has taken more than 56,545 firearms off of the streets of LA since 2013.
Through the mayor’s annual gun buyback program, the city has reportedly collected an additional 7,655 firearms, the mayor’s office said.
So far in 2022, the city booked 2,827 firearms into property, which is an increase of 28.9% over the five-year average.
The mayor’s office also reported that in 2021, the city recovered 1,921 “ghost guns,” an increase of 136% from 2020 statistics.
Following the shooting in Philadelphia on June 5, Mayor Jim Kenney amped up his call for gun reform.
The shooting, which left three dead and 11 injured, happened as several active shooters opened fire in a crowded intersection in south Philadelphia.
Kenney spoke at a press conference on Wednesday, referencing the recent shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo and Philadelphia.
“These latest mass shootings were all under different circumstances, but one common thread runs between them: the ease of access to guns,” he said.
In the conference, local officials discussed city efforts to combat broad state gun laws.
According to the city of Philadelphia, the city made a large investment in reducing gun violence in the fiscal year 2022. Reportedly, more than $155 million was invested specifically to address urgent violence prevention needs through a multidisciplinary approach focused on community empowerment, employment and careers, healing, prevention, and safe havens for children and youth.
For the fiscal year 2023, the mayor’s administration has pledged to invest another $28.8 million towards the overall goal of drastically reducing shootings and gun homicides by 2023.
Gun reform is no new discussion for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
At the recent mayors meeting, Lightfoot said, “I don’t understand why anyone who is not law enforcement or military needs access to assault weapons.”
Illinois requires universal background checks, gun owner licensing, lost and stolen firearm reporting, waiting periods and has minimum age laws, open carry reporting, community violence intervention funding, risk protection orders and domestic violence gun laws.
Yet, Chicago experiences high rates of gun deaths per capita, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Lightfoot advocates for further change.
In a statement released on June 5, Lightfoot said, “Let me say again, every single day, on every watch, brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department risk their lives for our safety. But I must ask again, when is enough, enough? Are we not fed up with the catastrophic consequences of having too many illegal guns readily available to criminals, the mentally ill and juveniles? How many times must I, and my fellow mayors across the country, plead with the Senate to take access and end the easy access to illegal guns? How many officers and residents must be the victims of gun violence before we act?”
A shooting at a medical center in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 1 left two doctors, one employee and one patient dead.
Following the shooting at a press conference on June 2, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said, “Our focus right now is on grieving.”
“The shooter is dead,” Bynum continued. “The threat that he brought to this campus, that has been ended.”
The shooter at the medical center had purchased the AR-15 rifle that he used to kill four people just hours before the shooting occurred.
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