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Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe mayors urge Senate to work on gun legislation

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (AP Photo); Mesa Mayor John Giles (City of Mesa Photo); Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell (Twitter Photo)

PHOENIX – Three mayors in metro Phoenix were among the 214 elected city officials from across the country Thursday who wrote congressional leadership asking for bipartisan legislation on gun safety.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Mesa Mayor John Giles and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell supported the letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The letter asked that the Senate be called back from their August recess to work on legislation for gun safety. The request came days after a weekend during which 31 people were killed in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio.

“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 mayors wrote.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild also backed the letter.

“The leadership in this country really needs to prioritize this,” Giles told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“I certainly don’t ever want to be in the position where I’m attending 22 funerals (the number killed in Texas) in Mesa, Arizona. But it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ unless we do something about this.”

The mayors pointed out that the House of Representatives has already passed a pair of bills in February that would have bolstered background checks.

Under H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Backgrounds Check Act of 2019, almost all firearms sales and loans would be overseen by a federally licensed dealer, “to ensure individuals prohibited from gun possession are not able to obtain firearms,” the bill read.

“Most Americans want reasonable gun measures,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell told KTAR News. “No one needs huge magazines of hundreds of round of ammunition.

“There are sensible thing we can do right now to lower the risk of gun violence.”

Another bill, H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, wanted to extend the review period for background checks from three days to 10 days.

Gallego told KTAR News, “We worry a lot about preventing this type of incident. We’re asking the Senate … to give us more tools as we move forward.”

The letter ended with the mayors adding they looked forward to working with Senate leaders, “to find a way forward to protect our citizens from this senseless carnage.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross, Ashley Flood and Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

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