VIDEO REPORT: Mayors Around Country Show Support for Background Checks

By: Rachelle Baillon Email
By: Rachelle Baillon Email

Thursday, March 28, 2013--5:40p.m.
The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is holding a National Day to Demand Action.

They're having more than 100 events nationwide to show support for legislation to help prevent gun violence.

The mayors of Wisconsin's major cities are weighing in too: both Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin held press events to show their support. "To make the point that there is overwhelming support, over 80 percent, for background checks to make sure that firearms do not get into the hands of people with criminal records or with records of mental illness," said Soglin.

Mayor Soglin said he supports universal background checks. "We don't expect that to solve all of the problem, but the fewer people who have problems properly handling a firearm, the fewer who get their hands on these firearms, the safer our communities will be," said Soglin,

Right now background checks are required for sales at gun shops and sporting goods stores, but a loophole exempts private party sales, including at gun shows and flea markets.

The group says most Americans support background checks--including NRA members. And today they're trying to marshal the masses to encourage lawmakers to follow suit. "We have to demonstrate to these legislators, particularly members of Congress and the state government that they can safely take a position on responsible gun regulation and not become victims of a single issue the next time that they are up for election," said Soglin.

We also spoke with the mayor of Dodgeville.
He said he was invited to participate in today's statement--but declined. "We're in a more rural area out here and people are very protective of their second amendment rights," said Mayor Todd Novak. "And I just want to make sure that I don't join a group that possibly may push an agenda to infringe on those rights."

Mayor Novak said he applauds the efforts of the group--and may even personally support some more background checks, for things like gun shows--but said he made his decision to decline with his constituents in mind.

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