FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES THE FIRST NATIONAL SUMMIT ON ILLEGAL GUNS THAT BROUGHT TOGETHER MAYORS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY TO FIGHT ILLEGAL GUNS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, April 30, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"New York is the nation's safest big city, and we're continuing to make it safer. Crime is nearly 25% lower than it was five years ago. But there's still more we can do to reduce crime. And the key is cracking down on illegal guns.
"Last year alone, illegal guns were used to take the lives of more than 300 New Yorkers. And 82% of the guns used to commit crimes in our city come from out-of-state. Illegal guns plague other cities, too. They're a national problem, and solving it requires national leadership. That's why last week Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and I hosted a "Mayor's Summit on Illegal Guns." It was attended by 13 other mayors from across the country, including the mayors of Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.
"Many of you have probably read or seen news stories about that summit. But let me tell you, it was far from just a one-day meeting. Our work is just beginning. The other mayors and I produced an agenda for action at the local, state, and national levels. We all committed ourselves to using every tool at our disposal to stop the flow of illegal guns into our cities, and we all signed a statement of principles that will help guide our efforts.
"In our home cities, we'll continue to work with prosecutors and judges to maximize penalties for those who possess, use, and sell illegal guns. We're going to cooperate more closely with each other to identify and punish gun dealers who knowingly sell weapons to the so-called "straw" purchasers who then turn around and re-sell those weapons to criminals. And we'll continue to share information and strategies on how to combat illegal guns.
"Washington is also going to be a big focus of our work. Last month, I testified before Congress against what I called a "God-awful" bill it's considering. It would prevent local law enforcement agencies from being able to access data that Federal investigators compile about guns that are used in crimes, including information about where they're purchased. That data is crucial to our ability to hold accountable the small minority of gun dealers who knowingly sell weapons to criminals.
The bill would even make it a crime for the nation's police departments to exchange information they have about gun traffickers. More than four and a half years after 9/11-when the lesson was "we should have shared intelligence" - it's hard to believe anyone thinks that blocking the flow of such information is really a good idea.
"The other mayors at last week's summit agree strongly that this bill must be stopped. We're also going to lobby Congress, together, to increase Federal funding for technology for detecting illegal guns, and for encouraging the manufacture of so-called "smart guns" that can only be fired by their rightful owners.
"The mayors of Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities weren't able to attend last week's summit. But they're fully behind our efforts, and we look forward to enlisting them in our new coalition. They recognize, like we do, that cracking down on illegal guns doesn't infringe on the Constitutional "right to bear arms"; it protects the lives of Americans. And if Congress won't take the lead in doing that, we have to."
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958
Listen to the radio address