TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The mayors of the two largest cities in the Tampa Bay area are joining more than 200 other leaders from across the nation in a call for immediate action on gun safety legislation.
A total of 214 mayors sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday calling for the Senate to return to Washington and pass bipartisan legislation to end gun violence.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman both signed the letter.
“On behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors, we urge you to immediately call the Senate back to Washington to take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation,” the letter reads. “Already in 2019, there have been over 250 mass shootings. The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are just the latest reminders that our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them.”
The letter highlights two bills passed by the House of Representatives this year that the mayors believe would “greatly strengthen the background check system.”
H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Check Act of 2019, passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 240 to 190 in February. The mayors’ letter says the bill would close serious loopholes in the background check system.
H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, also passed the House in February on a bipartisan vote of 228 to 198. According to the letter, the bill would extend the background check review period and help ensure checks are completed before weapons are sold.
“H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 are bipartisan, sensible gun safety bills that would make our cities and our people safer, and would in no way compromise gun owners’ rights,” the letter from the mayors reads. “We urge you to call the Senate back to session now to take up and pass these bills to help reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes in our cities and our nation.”
The U.S. Conference of Mayors notes in its letter that it stands ready to work with Congress, the Trump Administration and others to put an end to gun violence.
“America has proven time and again that we can rise to our most difficult challenges. We look forward to working with you to find a way forward to protect our citizens from this senseless carnage,” the organization said.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Mayor Kriseman said “I’m proud to join with more than 200 of my fellow mayors in calling on Congress to return to Washington, D.C. in order to pass bipartisan legislation addressing gun violence. @Everytown is impacted by this epidemic and every elected official needs to act.”