Dear MoveOn member,
The tragedy in Tucson has brought to light some glaring holes in our gun control system.
Thousands of the records that should be in the background check system—people with documented histories of serious mental illness and drug abuse, like Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner—have never been entered.1 And you can still buy guns at gun shows with no background check at all.2
A bipartisan group of mayors from across the country, led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is now pushing to close these loopholes.
There is huge public support (over 90%!) for doing this3—but the gun lobby and the NRA are powerful and super well-funded and they will fight this tooth and nail. If we can show overwhelming public demand for the mayors' efforts right now, change is possible.
Can you sign this petition to Congress supporting the bipartisan proposal from Mayors Against Illegal Guns? If we can get over 250,000 signatures, mayors from across the country will deliver them directly to Congress. Click here:
After the tragic mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2006, Congress passed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Act that created incentives for states to improve the reporting of background information to the NICS database. While it helped (increased the number of records in the database from 300,00 to 1.1 million), the database is still over a million records short. Here are some key facts:4
- Twenty-eight states and D.C. still have less than 100 mental health records in the system, in part because this bill was underfunded.
- The database only has 2,000 people listed as drug abusers—something that Jared Lee Loughner should have been listed as and would have prevented him from getting the gun he used.
- Under this law, federal agencies—including the military—which rejected Loughner due to drug use should have been sharing that information with the NICS database.
- Finally, even if the Arizona shooter had failed the NICS background check, he could have walked right into a gun show and bought a gun without any check at all.
The mayors effort focuses on two major components: Fully fund the NICS Improvement Act and strengthen procedures for compliance with the law, and fix the gun show loophole by requiring reasonable background checks at gun shows.
Their proposals are supported by more than 90% of the public, including gun owners.
But the NRA is incredibly powerful and has a lot of allies in Congress. They've prevented important reforms like this before and they could again, unless we all speak out now.
Thanks for all you do.
–Justin, Nita, Kat, Anna, and the rest of the team
1. After Arizona Shootings Background Checks Examined, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, January 14, 2011
2. Fix Gun Checks, Mayors Against Illegal Guns
3. In Aftermath of Tucson Shooting, New Bipartisan Poll Shows Americans, Including Gun Owners, Support Tougher Laws to Keep Firearms Out of Dangerous Hands, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, January 18, 2011
4. Fix Gun Checks, Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Arizona Shooter's Gun Purchases Should Have Been Blocked, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, January 17, 2011
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