Holder urges mayors to pressure Congress on guns
Attorney General Eric Holder, flanked by Houston, Texas Mayor Annise Parker, left, and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole, speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 81st winter meeting in Washington, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. / AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Attorney General Eric Holder urged the nation's mayors today to pressure Congress to move forward on gun control legislation President Obama recently proposed.
"Some have said that these changes will require 'tough' votes by members of Congress," Holder said at the U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Washington, D.C. " Public service is never easy, and there come times when those of us who are in elected or appointed positions must put the interests of those we are privileged to serve above that which might be politically expedient or professionally safe. This is one of those times."
Holder said it is "essential" that Congress pass bans on high-capacity magazines and on assault weapons. He also said Congress should pass new laws requiring universal background checks for gun purchasers and placing tougher penalties on gun traffickers. "It means taking action to ensure that, while our Second Amendment rights are upheld, we have the means to prosecute effectively those who use firearms to commit acts of violence," he said.
A new CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday found that most Americans favor the president's proposals.
Holder was perhaps talking to a captive audience. Several of the mayors in attendance met with Vice President Joe Biden yesterday on the issue of gun violence. And 800 mayors have already joined New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new group, Demand a Plan, pushing Congress to act.
Holder broadened the context of gun violence from the mass shootings of Newtown and Aurora to the daily violence that "plague[s] our cities and towns every day."
"This unspeakable tragedy, and the individual tragedies that take place on your streets all too often and all too often unnoticed, stand as stark reminders of our shared responsibility to address not just the epidemic of gun-related crimes, and the ongoing need for vigorous enforcement of our laws - but also the underlying conditions that give rise to gun violence," Holder said.
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