Woodbridge Mayor Joins 'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' in Sending Obama a Letter

Mayor John McCormac is among 67 New Jersey mayors asking for changes in federal law in response to the Newtown, CT shootings.

Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac joined other mayors across the country today in sending a letter to President Barack Obama regarding the school shootings in Newtown, CT and the need to change gun legislation in the United States.

McCormac is among several other local mayors - including Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz, Edison Mayor Antonia Ricigliano, and Linden Mayor Richard J. Gerbounka  - who have joined the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The group, which includes more than 750 mayors nationwide and 67 in New Jersey, is led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.  

The letter read, in part, "As mayors, we are charged with keeping our communities safe. But too many of us have sat with mothers and fathers of children killed with guns. Twenty-four children enrolled in public schools in your hometown of Chicago were shot to death just last year.

In the letter, dated Dec. 19, 2012, the mayors ask the president to do seven things. They are:

  • Require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check: Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people from buying firearms. These checks are instantaneous and highly effective. Since its inception, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has blocked firearms purchases at licensed dealerships by millions of individuals who are barred by federal law from owning them.
  • Get high capacity rifles and ammunition magazines off our streets: Military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines have no appropriate civilian or sporting function. They are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly. They are also disproportionately used to kill law enforcement officers; approximately one out of five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty is killed with assault weapons.
  • Make gun trafficking a federal crime: Today, there is no clear and effective statute making gun trafficking a crime. Prosecutors are instead forced to rely on a weak law prohibiting engaging in the business of selling guns without a federal license, which carries the same punishment as trafficking chicken or livestock. As a result, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General, U.S. Attorneys decline to prosecute 25 percent of those cases while declining only 9 percent of drug conspiracy cases. 
  • Appoint an ATF director: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the federal agency responsible for enforcing our gun laws, has gone without a confirmed director for more than six years. During that time, criminals and those with serious mental illness have been able to take advantage of insufficient enforcement of existing federal gun laws, and an estimated 72,000 Americans have been murdered with guns. In 2011, for the first time in over a decade, more police officers were shot to death in the line of duty than were killed in automobile accidents.
  • Prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines: The Justice Department should vigorously prosecute felons and other prohibited purchasers who fail gun background checks. In 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred more than 71,000 such cases to ATF, but U.S. Attorneys ultimately prosecuted only 77 of them. Prosecuting these offenders is a goal broadly supported by our coalition and the National Rifle Association.
  • Require federal agencies to report records to NICS: The NICS Improvement Act of 2007 requires federal agencies to submit mental health, substance abuse and other records that prohibit a person from owning a gun to NICS. However, few agencies comply. In October 2011, the FBI provided data to MAIG on reporting by 60 federal agencies. Of those 60 agencies, 52 had given zero mental health records to NICS. Although total federal agency reporting of mental health records increased by ten percent between March and October 2011, to 143,579, the vast majority of those records had been submitted by one agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even fewer federal agencies are reporting drug abusers. Only three agencies — the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency (CSOSA), the probation and parole services agency for the District of Columbia — have submitted any substance abuse records, and the vast majority of federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, have not submitted a single substance abuse record. The president should issue an executive order requiring all federal agency heads to certify twice annually, in writing, to the U.S. Attorney General that their agency has submitted all relevant records to NICS.
  • Repeal remaining Tiahrt restrictions: While Mayors Against Illegal Guns and our law enforcement allies have made progress in relaxing the “Tiahrt restrictions,” which are riders to the federal budget that restrict access to federal gun data, some still remain. These remaining restrictions keep the public, particularly researchers and elected officials, in the dark about gun traffickers – specifically, who they are and how they operate. It also requires the FBI to destroy records of approved NICS background checks within 24 hours. That makes it harder to detect law-breaking dealers who fake their records, or to identify straw buyers who undergo the checks on behalf of someone who couldn’t pass.  The Tiahrt Amendments also say ATF can’t require dealers to inspect their inventory, which could reduce the tens of thousands of guns that go missing or are stolen each year. Finally, the police and other law enforcement agencies that get trace data can’t use it in license revocation proceedings or in civil litigation. The administration should repeal these restrictions in its next budget.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.

What do you think of the coalition's recommendations? Tell us in the comments. 

Gordo K December 22, 2012 at 06:44 PM
"the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred more than 71,000 such cases to ATF, but U.S. Attorneys ultimately prosecuted only 77 of them." That, in a nutshell, is the root of the problem. Our elected legislators make these laws to make us believe that they're actually doing something. And we have a plethora of Federal agencies which fail to cooperate with one another, whether over turf squabbles or to extort more funds from taxpayers. Do the "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" actually believe that all the Crips 'n Bloods, Latin Kings, MS-13, Sureños 'n Norteños, etc. are going to submit to background checks?
Tom Maras December 23, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Is there a list of" Mayors FOR Illegal Guns"! Perhaps, in Mexico. So lots of mayors sign on as being against illegal guns. What else were they going to do? Say, we don't mind illegal aliens in our communities, but illegal guns just won't do! As every politician knows, get the publicity, even if it is good, while you can! The feds can regulate the interstate sale and transport of guns, the states have to regulate ownership and use; but not to the exclusion of 2nd. Amendment Rights!
Will Freedom December 27, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Banning Assault Rifles will do nothing. An AR-15 with a 15rd magazaine can do the same damage as a pistiol with a 15rd magazine. I do agree that no civilian should be in a possession of a 30rd magazine with an assault rifle because I was actually in the military and know what kind of damage a 30rd mag can do. Schools need better security (period). School security is a joke in this country. We are not going to be like Israel. Every teacher is not going to have a gun. That is just plain stupid in this country. There are too many people that are scared of guns and are taught guns are bad. A police officer or two and some armed security could work in most school districts. If children are our most valuable possessions like people like to say why are they left to the slaughter at school? Walk into any courthouse in this country and you can't help but notice all the armed personnel. I guess Judges are more valuable then kids.
Tom Maras December 27, 2012 at 06:19 PM
@ Will Freedom. A very refreshing prospective.
BobDee January 11, 2013 at 01:57 AM
So let's get this straight,,only the bloods, the crips, MS13 and the police will be able to protect themselves with arms. Oh,, can't forget illegal aliens too, we don't ask anything of them. So who is it these "new" gun laws and bans will effect?


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