Innocent people were shot at work, accounting for 12 of the 30,000 Americans who die from gun violence each year. They leave behind 30,000 families who wonder how their loss could have been prevented. As our elected representative, Mayor John Inks has the responsibility to take action to prevent gun violence on behalf of Mountain View residents.
I call on Mayor Inks to join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. Mayor Spitaleri in Sunnyvale and Mayor Scharff in Palo Alto stood with their constituents and joined the coalition, whose members believe "that we can do more to stop criminals from getting guns while also protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them."
Mayor Inks' refusal to join, as reported in the Voice, is based on a fundamental misinterpretation of the coalition. His assertion that the group "advocates heavier firearms restrictions and regulation instead of actually reducing gun violence" misrepresents the goals of the organization and ignores the documented success of gun violence prevention measures. His claim that the coalition is "fundamentally anti-gun" is at odds with the broad support for its policy proposals among gun owners. I want to set the record straight.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns promotes common sense measures to prevent gun violence, such as expanding the federal background check system. By law, licensed gun dealers must run background checks to avoid selling guns to criminals. This system has prevented 2 million guns from falling into dangerous hands. Nevertheless, criminals can buy firearms at gun shows or online because of a loophole that allows 6.6 million gun purchases each year to occur without a background check. To keep guns out of dangerous hands, background checks must be conducted whenever and wherever guns are sold. Ninty-two percent of Americans favor expanding background checks, including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members who know that background checks keep guns out of criminals' hands without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
Common sense measures to prevent gun violence save lives. In the early 1990s, California began requiring background checks for most gun purchases, and enacted other measures to prevent gun violence. In the last 20 years, the rate of gun deaths in California dropped by more than 50 percent, whereas the rate in other states dropped by only half of that. Unfortunately, state law cannot protect us from guns purchased in other states. A study by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that guns sold in our neighboring state of Nevada are used in out-of-state gun crimes at more than twice the national average. We need national legislation to make sure more families don't lose loved ones to preventable gun violence.
I ask Mayor Inks to put aside his preconceived notions about gun violence prevention legislation and to support common sense measures to protect our community from the threat of illegal guns. I call on him to add Mountain View to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition.