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Mayor Joins Call for More Gun Controls

Mayor Lou La Monte takes part in writing a letter to President Barack Obama.

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults, Mayor Lou La Monte found himself online, looking at the website "Mayors Against Illegal Guns."

"That kind of issue isn’t really big here in Malibu," La Monte told Malibu Patch. "If it happened in a place like Newtown, it could happen anywhere."

La Monte began to look at the list of mayors who had already signed up across the country and saw several familiar names, including Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang. 

"So I joined," La Monte said. The next day he received an email. 

"It said, 'We want to have a conference call in one hour because we need to react to this situation,'" La Monte said, adding that he knew he had to be invovled.

"The roll call of mayors that were on there was just astounding. Names from every state you can imagine," he said.

During the call, La Monte said he helped define the issues outlined in the letter calling for stricted controls on guns.

"It was an incredible group effort. It was amazing how quickly it galvanized people," La Monte said.

Mainly, what spurred him was the ability to jump in and take action.

"I thought we should be part of this. This is a problem. Everybody should be part of the solution," he said.

The group, which includes more than 750 mayors nationwide, is led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

The letter read, in part, "As mayors, we are charged with keeping our communities safe. But too many of us have sat with mothers and fathers of children killed with guns. Twenty-four children enrolled in public schools in your hometown of Chicago were shot to death just last year.

At the moving memorial service on Sunday evening, you said: 'If there is even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that has visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that – then surely we have an obligation to try.'”

In the letter, dated Dec. 19, 2012, the mayors ask the President to do seven things. They are:

  • Require every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check: Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and other dangerous people from buying firearms. These checks are instantaneous and highly effective. Since its inception, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has blocked firearms purchases at licensed dealerships by millions of individuals who are barred by federal law from owning them.
  • Get high capacity rifles and ammunition magazines off our streets: Military-style weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines have no appropriate civilian or sporting function. They are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly. They are also disproportionately used to kill law enforcement officers; approximately one out of five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty is killed with assault weapons.
  • Make gun trafficking a federal crime: Today, there is no clear and effective statute making gun trafficking a crime. Prosecutors are instead forced to rely on a weak law prohibiting engaging in the business of selling guns without a federal license, which carries the same punishment as trafficking chicken or livestock. As a result, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General, U.S. Attorneys decline to prosecute 25 percent of those cases while declining only 9 percent of drug conspiracy cases. 
  • Appoint an ATF director: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), the federal agency responsible for enforcing our gun laws, has gone without a confirmed director for more than six years. During that time, criminals and those with serious mental illness have been able to take advantage of insufficient enforcement of existing federal gun laws, and an estimated 72,000 Americans have been murdered with guns. In 2011, for the first time in over a decade, more police officers were shot to death in the line of duty than were killed in automobile accidents.
  • Prosecute prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms, ammunition or high-capacity magazines: The Justice Department should vigorously prosecute felons and other prohibited purchasers who fail gun background checks. In 2009, the Federal Bureau of Investigation referred more than 71,000 such cases to ATF, but U.S. Attorneys ultimately prosecuted only 77 of them. Prosecuting these offenders is a goal broadly supported by our coalition and the National Rifle Association.
  • Require federal agencies to report records to NICS: The NICS Improvement Act of 2007 requires federal agencies to submit mental health, substance abuse and other records that prohibit a person from owning a gun to NICS. However, few agencies comply. In October 2011, the FBI provided data to MAIG on reporting by 60 federal agencies. Of those 60 agencies, 52 had given zero mental health records to NICS. Although total federal agency reporting of mental health records increased by ten percent between March and October 2011, to 143,579, the vast majority of those records had been submitted by one agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs. Even fewer federal agencies are reporting drug abusers. Only three agencies — the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency (CSOSA), the probation and parole services agency for the District of Columbia — have submitted any substance abuse records, and the vast majority of federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, have not submitted a single substance abuse record. The president should issue an executive order requiring all federal agency heads to certify twice annually, in writing, to the U.S. Attorney General that their agency has submitted all relevant records to NICS.
  • Repeal remaining Tiahrt restrictions: While Mayors Against Illegal Guns and our law enforcement allies have made progress in relaxing the “Tiahrt restrictions,” which are riders to the federal budget that restrict access to federal gun data, some still remain. These remaining restrictions keep the public, particularly researchers and elected officials, in the dark about gun traffickers – specifically, who they are and how they operate. It also requires the FBI to destroy records of approved NICS background checks within 24 hours. That makes it harder to detect law-breaking dealers who fake their records, or to identify straw buyers who undergo the checks on behalf of someone who couldn’t pass.  The Tiahrt Amendments also say ATF can’t require dealers to inspect their inventory, which could reduce the tens of thousands of guns that go missing or are stolen each year. Finally, the police and other law enforcement agencies that get trace data can’t use it in license revocation proceedings or in civil litigation. The administration should repeal these restrictions in its next budget.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.

Linda Vallejo December 22, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Mikke - The 2nd Amendment protects the right of the people to keep & bear arms. In 2008 & 2010, Supreme Court issued two landmark decisions re the 2nd Amendment. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court ruled The 2nd Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, UNCONNECTED TO SERVICE IN MILITIA & TO USE THAT ARM FOR TRADITIONALLY LAWFUL PURPOSES, SUCH AS SELF-DEFENSE WITHIN THE HOME. The Newton tragedy is being used by this administration to disarm the nation. CA has the strictest gun control laws in the U.S. I agree something has to be done but disarming us is not the answer. There should be armed personnel in schools. If someone had been armed, these children would be alive today. Politicians & celebrities have armed bodyguards, why not children - not only to protect them from these mentally disturbed killers, but also child molesters in schools.
Linda Vallejo December 22, 2012 at 04:10 AM
Cont. We live in a world that if even something is illegal, people will still find a way to get it. Look at our jails - the knife homicide rate is astounding. People WILL find a way, no matter what. Maine has the highest knife homicides in the nation, so now are we to ban knives? I think that all the advocates of gun banning should give up THEIR guns, THEIR armed bodyguards & leave the 2nd Amendment as is. I work in the film industry and this industry must take responsibility for the kind of movies they are turning out. Most of these homicidal individuals are into computer role-playing & research shows these games desensitizing the brain to pain. The 2nd Amendment was written for a reason. Our Bill of Rights should be fiercely protected by every American citizen. It was bought with blood, sweat & tears & is our birthright. Unfortunately, most Americans that want to give up their amendment rights can barely recite the Preamble.
Mikke Pierson December 22, 2012 at 07:13 AM
Linda, respectfully I disagree with the recent court decisions and will work with many others for change. And I don't believe that this is what our countries founders intended or foresaw. I agree it will always be a dangerous world, but I disagree to the all too easy access to guns. I have owned guns and know a fair but about them, but I think our country is far too late in correctly banning the easy access to high powered weapons that are only built and intended for killing. I simply think it is morally wrong. I know it is a sensitive subject, but one our nation needs to do some serious soul-searching on and not just repeat what I believe to are incorrect interpretations of what our countries founders intended or how we should conduct our selves in the future.
Ben Dover December 22, 2012 at 09:24 AM
Our founding Fathers were brilliant individuals who created the Constitution over two hundred ago. They knew there would be advancements in weapons. The second amendment exist to give hard working americans the right to defend themselves from any enemy. If you want to live in a country where guns are illegal, move..
Valerie Titus-Parker December 22, 2012 at 04:22 PM
i applaud you, Mr. La Monte.
Linda Vallejo December 22, 2012 at 05:24 PM
In my opinion I think with all the clamoring and controversy in banning guns, we should all be uniting with loud voices in insisting the film media especially slasher films, take their responsibility in promoting this trash. The govt should be cracking down on them. Only reason they want guns is to promote their agenda to unarm us. Mikke the 2nd Amendment may not fit your interpretation but you can get Constitutional interpretation on Hillsdale College ~ foremost Constitional College in US
Frank P. Angel December 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Linda, sometimes the U.S. Supreme Court gets it wrong on the Bill of Rights, as the four dissenting judges in District of Columbia v. Heller proved, based on the meaning and the historic record of the 2nd Amendment. There is no question that like the pro-slavery Dread Scott opinion, the pro-gun Heller opinion will end up in the dustbin of history. Step by step, America will join the community of civilized nations. Western Europe's democracies and Australia have proven that outright prohibition of the purchase, sale and possession of automatic and semi-automatic weapons of mass murder makes a huge difference. Adam Lanza's mother was a law-abiding citizen, or? How did the 2nd Amendment protect her? A race to arming more is not the answer. Just see who sells this answer to us: the NRA, an organization representing the interets of the gun manufacturing industry and arms traffickers, not its members.
Hans Laetz December 22, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Wrong, John. Dead wrong. The City of Malibu prohibits gunfire in its Municipal Code, anywhere near an inhabited structure. Gunfire comes from guns. Thus, gun control is a matter of municipal concern. The Malibu City Council funds law enforcement in Malibu. It has police powers, and gun control is a government power to provide for a "well-regulated militia" as commanded by the Second Amendment, and to further the "general welfare" of the people as per the preamble to the Constitution. Lou La Monte's principled stand represents the City of Malibu, whether you like it or not. He was elected to the council, you (and I) were not. The council appointed him mayor. Many of those who contributed to the Romney campaign may not accept the fundamentals of representative government. it is amusing to see those in Malibu who feel the world stops at the Malibu City Limits on some issues -- like on regulating gun lunacy -- and not others -- like hosting military ships here. I do not criticize the John Paul Jones visit, but I use it as an example. Hypocrites. Thank you, Lou.
Hans Laetz December 22, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Linda, the Supreme Court is a political animal, more so now than ever. In 1986, it pronounced homosexuality illegal, and in 2003 reversed itself. The majority decision in the Heller case wrote a very-nuanced, very narrow decision. Linda, respectfully, ask the parents of those 20 murdered children about Mrs. Lanza's supposed Second Amendment rights, and how that amendment trumped their kids' right to life? No right is absolute. Mayor La Monte is speaking for the mainstream.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 01:06 AM
We are not Europe. We live in America, not Amerika. If there was armed security at the school these poor children would be alive today. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Since when is mainstream always right?
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 01:16 AM
I don't know why people try to misinterpret the Constitution. That is why it is called Constitutional Law, not family law. Why is it that our Founding Fathers are made to look as if they were senile, unintelligent old fools who were clueless to the future of this country. They definitely understood the dangers of tyrrany. Too bad some Americans don't, in due respect.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 04:38 AM
Frank, in all due respect, the issue you mentioned as to how the "2nd Amendment protected Adam Lanza's mother" I am not sure what you mean. How does that fit in? Are you saying that because she had the right to have guns that it caused this tragedy? Because the issue here is that she should have had the guns locked up because she knew Adam should be committed. She told his former sitter never to turn his back on him. Her mistake in not committing him cost her life, her son's & the children that died. Not intentionally but all the same it could have been averted had she committed him or had there been armed security at the school. If you research forensics on these type killers, if they have no guns they will find other weapons of choice. They do not kill because there are guns - they kill because they can and are driven by their need. They are typical profile types.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 05:30 AM
The Constitution was written for those in whose name it was cast, “we the people.” & should be interpreted according to the straightforward meaning of their language, The Constitution has a language & what passes for constitutional law study at many colleges & universities is exclusively the study of Supreme Court decisions. It is also important to compare what the Supreme Court has said to what the Constitution says. Early American settlers viewed the right to arms as important for: deterring tyrannical govts., repelling invasion, suppressing insurrection, facilitating a NATURAL right of self-defense, law enforcement & enabling people to form a militia. Some of these purposes were explicitly mentioned in early state constitutions; for example, the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 asserted that, "the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves & the state". James Madison "did not invent the right to keep and bear arms when he drafted the Second Amendment; the right was pre-existing at both common law and in the early state constitutions. "Before a standing army can rule the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States -- Noah Webster
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 06:50 AM
Angel do your research. Gun banning does not eradicate mass homicides in Western Europe. Read the stats. Some of the worst killings were in German high schools and UK leading other countries . Unfortunately it doesn't make headlines like here. For some reason advocates of gun banning think that countries that ban guns live in a blissful utopia. Gun banning is not the answer. We need to enforce the strict gun laws already in place. CA has the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Advocates of gun banning need to do the research this.
Frank P. Angel December 23, 2012 at 08:06 AM
Your comment makes my point. Obviously, the sad irony of the death of Adam Lanza's mother is completely lost on you. A propos need for doing research (your last post), countless law enforcement observations and quite a few studies demolish your arguments. For example, I just read that according to a 2011 UCLA study, the ratio of young people killed by guns in the United States, compared to other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries is 19.5 to 1. OECD has 38 member countries, including the United States and Canada.
Frank P. Angel December 23, 2012 at 08:16 AM
For a summary, check this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20571454.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Check this out also Frank. www.conservativedailynews.com/2012/12/gun-control-statistics-that-reasonable-people-should-know BTW Merry Christmas everyone!
Frank P. Angel December 23, 2012 at 09:50 AM
Linda, come back to the 21st Century. Are you worried that lest we all bear military-style assault weapons or possess high capacity ammunition magazines, the Armed Forces of the United States will rule us? As for the European kingdoms, many are history, and those that remain don't rule over their people. (They're known as "constitutional monarchies.") Finally, I'm sure we no longer need to bear arms to defend our independence against the tyranny of a British monarch. The Redcoats are gone. Today, however, "mainstream" America is right in revolting against the tyranny of weapons of mass murder. You see Linda, when the bullet-ridden bodies of 20 innocent six-year olds and 6 brave teachers haven't even all been taken to their graves yet, mainstream Americans don't claim any right to bear automatic or semi-automatic assault rifles. They mourn, and then they act or help in every way they can to end the NRA's protection racket in Congress, and get Congress to enact, and law enforcement to enforce, legislation banning the purchase, sale and possession of weapons that are specifically designed to kill as many victims as possible in the shortest possible amount of time, and to spread terror, blood and ever-lasting grief. I trust mainstream Americans will agree that our founding fathers would have sprung into action much sooner after Columbine High. As you put it so eloquently, they weren't "unintelligent old fools ... clueless to the future of this country."
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM
With Guns we are citizens, without them we are subjects! Soviet Union established gun control in 1929 - below people exterminated: Defenseless people exterminated in 20th Century because of gun control: USSR 1929-1953 20,000,000 exterminated Turkey 1915-1917 1,500,000 Germany 1939-1945 13,000,000 China 1948-1952 20,000,000 Guatemala 1964-1981 100,000 Uganda 1971-1979 300,000 Cambodia 1975-1977 1,000,000 Total: 56 million. While law-abiding citizens turned guns in, the criminals did not, criminals still possess their guns! Criminals will be guaranteed that their prey is unarmed. The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yu_wT7Th6w Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives. Gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Our Founding Fathers were not unintelligent old fools clueless of the potential future of this country ~~ unfortunately many Americans are.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Frank I read your referral to a study - it was posted on FB. The rest of the article states this: The Facebook post says the "USA is #1 in gun violence." That's only true if you compare the U.S. with other affluent nations on a per capita basis. But widening the comparison to all nations, not just the richest ones, there are at least 17 other countries with higher per capita rates of gun homicides, most of them with rates astronomically higher than the U.S." And measured by raw gun homicides, the U.S. doesn’t rank first -- at least two & possibly as many as five countries have had more gun homicides in recent years than the U.S. did. On balance, this claim is Half True.
Linda Vallejo December 23, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Frank - The main area where the U.S. exceeds the firearm violence of other nations is in comparison to other affluent nations. Using the U.N. data, European nations -- even former eastern bloc countries -- typically have rates well below 1 per 100,000, or far less than one-third the frequency seen in the U.S. The pattern is similar in other advanced industrialized nations, such as Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. One study published in 2011 confirms this finding. The study, published in the Journal of Trauma -- Injury Infection & Critical Care, found that firearm homicide rates were 19.5 times higher in the U.S. than in 23 other "high income" countries studied, using 2003 data. Rates for other types of gun deaths were also higher in the U.S., but by somewhat smaller margins: 5.8 times higher for firearm suicides (even though overall suicide rates were 30 percent lower in the U.S.) and 5.2 times higher for unintentional firearm deaths.
Hans Laetz December 23, 2012 at 06:40 PM
So, you say the US should only fairly be compared to lowincome countries.. Really? The US should be compared to Uganda and not Canada? Linda, a huge word count does not win the argument. Did you see Wayne LaPierre on NBC today? Hard to take him serious,. You both are very passionate. And overflowing with nonsolution solutions.
Linda Vallejo December 24, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Hans, I just watched Wayne LaPierre and David Gregory on NBC. The only one losing his cool was Gregory. BTW Bill Clinton first requested $60 million in 2000 to put cops in schools.
Linda Vallejo December 24, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Hans if you read my post you would realize that I made no such statement that US should be compared to low income countries, nor gave that impression. What I stated was that Frank's report was incomplete & I quoted the rest of the report. The title of the report was U.S. #1 in gun violence. They then proceeded to disect this report on different levels and countries. You should read the whole report before you assume anything. You are an intelligent journalist & I am sure that you collect ALL the facts in order to present a comprehensive understanding based on the WHOLE report. If you are collecting information, you cannot pick & choose parts of the stat report to make it fit your slant. Frank only presented half the report. That is all I am stating - no need to make a ridiculous assumption based nothing I said. Please reread my post if you cannot remember what I stated. A huge word count means nothing unless it is loaded with Facts. A small word count means nothing if it contains incomplete information.
Ann Tomkins December 25, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Banning military style assault rifles is not an attack on the second amendment. These certainly were not the types of weapons that the founders were considering when writing the Constitution. I seriously doubt that the Supreme Court would interpret the Constitution as prohibiting reasonable regulations on these weapons.
Ann Tomkins December 25, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Now you're advocating abolishing the 1st amendment?
Dilair Nafoosi December 30, 2012 at 12:30 AM
If disarming the citizens makes violent crimes go down, why, oh why, is there not one example of an american city in which gun restrictions have led to a drop in crimes? Why are the three cities with the worst crime rates - Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York City - have the most gun control? Why are people swayed by arguments made by traitors like Piers Morgan and Soledad O'Brien who know NOTHING ABOUT GUNS including not knowing the difference between auto and semi-auto? How bad must things get before people turn off the celebrities,turn off the sports, and turn off the TV mind control and start thinking for themselves? When will people realize the first gun control laws were to prevent African Americans from owning firearms? When will people realize that those who give up liberty for security will lose both and deserve neither?
Arthur Christopher Schaper December 30, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Linda: Thank you for sharing this statistic. This nonsensical reform called "gun control" does not control guns at all, except for law-abiding citizens who are trained to control themselves and their firearms without intervention from the state. When Washington D.C.'s gun ban was scrapped by the Supreme Court, the murder rate declined. If our politicians will not listen to reason or reality, then we have the responsibility of making them listen, or getting rid of them so that our leaders will enact laws to protect our kids.

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