, Salem, MA

February 1, 2013

Salem, Beverly mayors take stand for stricter gun laws

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll met with mayors from across the state yesterday in Boston to renew their push for stricter gun laws.

The mayors, who are part of the Massachusetts delegation of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, gathered at the Parkman House on Beacon Hill to “pressure Congress to take action on common-sense gun control.”

In addition to lobbying Congress to pass a national assault weapons ban and mandatory background checks, Boston Mayor Tom Menino said the mayors intend to make their voices heard in the Statehouse, as well.

“There is obviously a lot of attention on this,” Scanlon said. “The gathering was to show that we are serious about reducing the likelihood of further tragic events.”

There are 26 Massachusetts mayors who have joined the coalition, 14 since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Nearly 1,000 municipal leaders nationwide are involved in the effort.

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt is also a member of the coalition, according to the group’s website. He was not in attendance yesterday.

The coalition’s main goal is preventing criminals from illegally obtaining guns and using them, according to its website. The group was started in 2006 by Menino and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who serve as co-chairmen.

Scanlon said he joined the coalition a few days before the Connecticut tragedy after receiving information on the group.

“I was very troubled by what went on in Aurora, Colo. I decided it was time,” he said.

Scanlon said four or five mayors spoke during the event, and each took a turn at filming parts of a public service announcement that will air across the state.

Menino called on Congress to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban and prohibit high-capacity ammunition magazines. He also said gun trafficking should be made a federal crime and said the national background check system must be strengthened.

“It was a forceful declaration of a determined effort to tighten up the loopholes on people getting guns who shouldn’t have them,” Scanlon said.

Driscoll could not be reached for comment.

Material from the State House News Service was used in this report.