FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND BOSTON MAYOR MENINO ANNOUNCE EXPANSION OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS COALITION TO MORE THAN 100 MAYORS NATIONWIDE
109 Mayors from 44 States Across the Country Are Now Represented in the Coalition
Next Mayors' Summit on Illegal Guns Will Take Place in January 2007 in Washington, DC
Bi-Partisan Coalition Launches Website to Serve as Information Sharing Resource on Illegal Gun Initiatives Across the Nation
Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago Set to Host Regional Working Groups This Fall to Share Best Practices
Six months after hosting a landmark summit of mayors united against the plague of illegal guns, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino today announced the expansion of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns to 109 mayors in 44 states across the country and announced that the next summit would take place in January 2007 in Washington, DC. The mayors represent every region of the United States and include Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The expansion of the coalition builds upon the original group of 15 mayors who convened in April for the first Mayors' Summit on Illegal Guns. Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Menino today also announced the launch of the Coalition's website, www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org, fulfilling a pledge from the first Summit to create an information sharing resource. The website provides a range of information on the illegal gun issue, including best practices and innovative state and federal legislative efforts. In addition, this fall the Mayors of Atlanta, Boston and Chicago will be the first to host regional working groups designed to encourage a dialogue among regional senior city officials and improve inter-city coordination in the fight against illegal guns. Mayors Bloomberg and Menino were joined today by Yonkers Mayor Philip Amicone and Providence Mayor David Cicilline for the announcement at Boston's City Hall.
"More than 100 mayors across our country have stood up to say, enough is enough - illegal guns don't belong on our streets," said Mayor Bloomberg. "These mayors recognize that public safety is not a partisan issue. Illegal guns know no borders and are not confined to one city, one state or one region. Our coalition is about increasing public safety and ensuring that we keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Mayors know all too well the damage and heartache caused by illegal guns. Together, we're taking another step forward in our efforts to create a united stand against this plague on our streets. Illegal guns have nothing to do with the Second Amendment. This isn't about ideology - it's about law enforcement. When Washington makes bad decisions to protect criminals rather than the public, our cities bear the tragic consequences. Together we're sending a message to our national leaders that we will not be silent on this issue."
"Last April, 13 other mayors joined Mayor Bloomberg and myself in New York with a shared purpose - to come together to take illegal guns off the street," said Mayor Menino. "Today, we have more than 100 mayors who are united in their commitment to protect their cities from the violence and sorrow that illegal guns cause. We need to stand together and not allow the federal government to continue to gut the essential programs that cities need to keep their residents safe and make it clear that we will not allow our streets to turn into war zones."
Each of the 109 mayors has signed the Statement of Principles which was created during the April Summit. The Statement of Principles outlines a commitment to increase enforcement of gun laws; increase penalties for criminals who possess, use, and traffic in illegal guns; oppose federal efforts to restrict cities' right to access, use, and share trace data; develop technologies that aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns; support local, state, and federal legislation that targets illegal guns; share information and best practices to coordinate legislative, enforcement, and litigation strategies; and continue to expand the effort to other cities across the country.
The Coalition of mayors now includes:
Mayor Mark Begich, Anchorage, Alaska
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, which went "live" with its launch today, will serve as a valuable information resource for mayors in the fight against illegal guns. The website includes updates on state and federal legislative and litigation efforts, and research on emerging gun detection technologies and patterns of gun traffickers and offenders. Mayors will also be able to share information on what strategies have been successful in his or her city. The website will be updated on a regular basis to keep the mayors current on the most recent information on illegal guns.
This fall, regional working groups will be hosted in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago to bring together senior city officials in each region to share strategies in the fight against illegal guns. This includes how to work with local law enforcement agencies and state representatives to maximize penalties for those who posses, use and traffic in illegal guns, as well as to how to better coordinate as a region to share information and best practices on enforcement and legislative issues. Mayor Daley will host the first working group in Chicago on October 26th. Mayor Menino will host a working group in Boston on November 9th, and Mayor Shirley Franklin will host a work group in Atlanta on November 30th. A regional working group is also planned for the West Coast later this year. Each of these sessions is designed to lead into the January 2007 summit which will kick-off the coalition's first full calendar year of work together - and the first-ever coordinated, national effort to convince Congress to take ideology out of law enforcement.
Mayor Bloomberg's Illegal Gun Agenda
Mayor Bloomberg has made stopping the flow of illegal guns an important priority in his second term. To that end, he is using a comprehensive three-pronged strategy: tougher enforcement, new legislation and innovative litigation to combat illegal guns. In New York City, gun arrests are up 14% this year.
In July, the Mayor signed four bills into law that include tough new measures that will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals; prevent under-the-table sales and require those convicted of a gun crime to check in with the NYPD after they have been released from prison; and ban real guns from being painted to look like toy guns.
In June, at the Mayor's urging, the State Legislature passed a bill increasing the mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded handgun to 3 ½ years, and eliminated the loophole that allowed judges far too much discretion in sentencing - changes the Mayor had called for in his State of the City Address last January. Other enforcement efforts include creating specialized Gun Courts, which have resulted in longer sentences for gun offenders, working to introduce gun shot detection cameras that will discourage the use and possession of illegal guns, and establishing a "debriefing" protocol for every felony gun defendant, which is helping law enforcement agencies learn more about the identities of gun traffickers.
Mayor Bloomberg, alongside other mayors, is also fighting federal legislation that would protect irresponsible gun dealers by limiting access to trace data and barring its introduction in civil suits, preventing law enforcement agencies from holding gun dealers fully accountable. The mayors have also opposed legislation that would make it harder for the ATF to revoke the licenses of rogue dealers.
In May, the Mayor announced that the City was filing suit in federal court against 15 gun dealers in five states who sold guns in violation of federal and state statutes. To date, five of those dealers - one-third of the total - have agreed to settlements with the City which includes the court appointment of a Special Master to monitor the dealers and require them to submit to enhanced training. The Special Master will have broad powers to monitor the gun dealers, including unlimited review of firearms-related records, which include trace requests and multiple handgun sale reports, as well as the ability to conduct unrestricted inspections of all firearm inventories. The 15 dealers were targeted primarily because of the large number of New York City crime guns that were traced back to them. Based only on the incomplete data currently available to the City due to federal restrictions, more than 500 crime guns recovered in New York City were traced to these 15 gun dealers between 1994 and 2001.
Mayor Menino's Illegal Gun Agenda
As the numbers of shooting and homicides surged in late 2005, Mayor Menino formalized and structured his crime fighting efforts by creating the Strategic Crime Council that began meeting weekly in January 2006. With this multi-faceted and inter disciplinary approach, Mayor Menino's administration is working to stop crime in our city from all angles. The Strategic Crime Council, which is chaired by Mayor Menino, employs a six-pronged approach to addressing crime, which includes: a legislative agenda with regional and national outreach, a public health and healthcare agencies platform, targeted law enforcement strategies, education and awareness efforts, a wide variety of community outreach and engagement, as well as advocating for specific judicial system changes. Legislatively, Mayor Menino has spearheaded the passage of the Gang Bill and the Witness Protection Bill that resulted in a $3 million grant to the City of Boston for gang prevention, intervention and suppression work, as well as additional money and programming to protect witnesses. In partnership with Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Menino has advocated against numerous state and federal attempts to weaken gun safety regulation. This past summer, Mayor Menino led a successful gun buyback program with the Boston Police Department, which took 1,000 guns off the streets of Boston. In addition to the Gun Buyback, Mayor Menino ensured that Boston communities received the outreach needed to prevent gun violence. Mayor Menino raised funds for 190 court-involved youth with CORIs to receive summer jobs and job readiness training modeled after the Winter Jobs Program. Boston Centers for Youth and Family (BCYF) held six community youth forums throughout the spring and summer attracting 150 youths and parents who expressed their concerns and ideas around the violence issue. B-SMART street worker teams addressed the issue of crime from a quality of life angle, targeting human service needs and physical improvement priorities.
Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
Boston Mayor's Press Office (617) 635-4461
Watch the video in 56k or 300k