Fenty Endorses Quest for Strict Gun-Show Rules; Mayors from across U.S. Sign On

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

Fenty Endorses Quest for Strict Gun-Show Rules; Mayors from across U.S. Sign On


Byline: Gary Emerling, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty yesterday joined mayors from across the country in calling for stricter regulations at gun shows - a major issue in Virginia, where state lawmakers rejected the change following last year's massacre at Virginia Tech.

"We can't afford to wait for another tragedy like that to take these kinds of basic common-sense protections," said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, co-chairman of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, which held its annual summit in the District yesterday.

The bipartisan coalition - whose members include Mr. Bloomberg, an independent, Mr. Fenty, a Democrat, and roughly 300 others - said Congress must tighten gun laws that permit improper access to weapons.

Mr. Fenty also called on Congress to prohibit all firearms in the District - which is waiting on a decision regarding its 32-year-old gun ban from the Supreme Court - and said federal lawmakers will protect themselves but not city residents.

"Every year on Capitol Hill, as we keep fighting to make sure that we have better ammunition for our cities and that we can end these loopholes, every year Capitol Hill bunkers down a little bit more with another speed hump, with another barrier, with another camera, with more armed guards," Mr. Fenty said. "One place in Washington D.C. a mayor doesn't have to worry about guns is on Capitol Hill."

The coalition said the gun-show "loophole" in federal law allows people who sell guns to avoid running background checks or keeping records by calling themselves "occasional sellers."

Mr. Bloomberg said the loophole is one of four "glaring" gaps in the background-check system that contribute to illegal gun sales. Others include those that allow a "fire sale" by a gun dealer after being shut down by the government and the lack of a requirement that gun dealers perform criminal background checks on their employees.

"For the members of our coalition, the fight against illegal guns ... is about law enforcement and public safety," Mr Bloomberg said. "Nothing else."

In Virginia, fixing the gun-show loophole became a major issue again on April 16, 2007, when a disturbed Virginia Tech student killed 32 classmates and faculty members, then himself, in an on-campus rampage.

While the guns used by student Seung-hui Cho were not purchased at a gun show, those used by the gunmen in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings were. …

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