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Mayors Plan National Day of Action To Push Congress On Gun Control

More than 100 events are planned for Thursday following last week's multimillion-dollar ad buy.
 
 
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The nationwide campaign by 900 mayors to pressure Congress to enact new major gun controls is turning up the pressure with more than 100 events planned for Thursday. This push comes after Mayors Against Illegal Guns started spending $12 million on TV ads last week targeting members of Congress in 10 states to address gun violence.

“This week, in addition to the ads, we are also having our national day to demand action on Thursday, where there will be more than 100 events across the country when members of Congress will be home for the Easter/Passover recess,” said Erica Soto Lamb, the Mayors' spokesperson.

Thursday’s events, featuring gun violence survivors, mayors, anti-violence organizers and clergy, are intended to push Congress to stiffen federal gun control laws. Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that he would not include an assault rifle ban in a gun-control package he’d bring to the floor in April. Reid’s decision dismayed advocates such as California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who became San Francisco mayor in 1978 after two gun killings in City Hall and has championed the ban.

“He [Reid] said the assault weapons ban will get a vote,” Soto Lamb said. “He said that high-capacity magazine limits would also get a vote.”

Instead, the Mayors' coalition—funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg—is pushing hard for a renewed system of comprehensive and enforceable background checks. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns website is filled with polling data supporting such a ban, saying “the average support for background checks for all gun sales among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent. The findings of these surveys can be found  here.”

Last week, their TV ads were designed to shore up support for an expanded background check system by featuring a gun owner who said he supported the checks and didn’t see them infringing on his Second Amendment rights—which has been the National Rifle Association’s longtime rallying cry to oppose any new gun laws.

The members of Congress targeted by the ads were Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R), Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor (D), Georgia’s Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R), Indiana’s Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) and Sen. Dan Coats (R), Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), Maine Sen. Susan Collins (R), New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), Nevada Sen. Dean Heller (R), North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D), North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D), Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R), and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R).

The Thursday events are intended to deluge these officials with messages from voters urging them to support new gun controls. “The day is expected to be the largest gun violence advocacy event in history and is part of the largest field campaign in U.S. history to address gun violence,” the Mayors' website said.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns was founded in 2006. It has grown from 15 mayors to more than 900 mayors across the country and has 1.4 million grassroots supporters.

(Editor's note: Visit this website for a map, bottom right, with links to where events will be held.)

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).