Mayor Thompson Calls for Ban on Military Weaponry; May Use Executive Powers

City Mayor Linda D. Thompson again called for a ban on the sale of military-type weapons during a town hall discussion about gun violence sponsored by Harrisburg Hope and the Midtown Scholar Bookstore last night. The mayor also said a legal review is underway in the City Law Bureau to clarify the executive powers the mayor’s office has to address automatic weapons control in the city.

The panel discussion, which included Sen. Daylin Leach, Rep. Patty Kim, Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney, and First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo, was in support of improved gun control in response to the 20 innocent children and six adults murdered with automatic assault weapons in Newtown, CT last month.

Thompson is an active member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of 800 U.S. mayors and more than 900,000 grass roots supporters who are demanding action in the face of the NRA corporate gun lobby in both Washington, D.C. and in the PA House and Senate.

“The time has come for all of us, including legal gun owners, to get engaged with this issue and support common sense legislative measures like those proposed by Senator Leach in the PA Senate and Vice President Joe Biden’s efforts to rein in the influence of the NRA on this issue in Washington.” Mayor Thompson said today.

“Our agenda in Harrisburg and Washington is a common sense three-step solution to the problem,” the Mayor added.

“We have to require a criminal background check for every gun sold in America; we have to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for civilian use immediately; and we have to make gun trafficking a federal crime, with real penalties for “straw purchasers” who re-sell legally purchased guns to people who cannot legally purchase those guns.” She said.

“The time to act is now,” Thompson noted, “there is a genuine outpouring of voices, including legal gun owners, demanding real change to make our communities safer. We care about Second Amendment rights but we need reasonable gun restrictions to eliminate horrible mass killings across the nation.”

Mayor Thompson pointed to statistics last night which show that many policies to restrict gun ownership are popular across the nation.  “A recent CNN/ORC poll found for example that about 57% of those asked favor a ban on automatic weapons; 60% favor a ban on high-capacity gun magazines; and more than 95% favor stronger background checks.” She told the 200 attendees.

Of the 142 weapons used by the killers in 62 mass shootings across the U.S. since 1982, three quarters of them were obtained legally and the deadly arsenal included dozens of assault weapons and semiautomatic handguns.

The mayor reported 12 murders in the City of Harrisburg last year, down from a high of 16 in prior years, but gun related crime “remains a problem we all have to address,” she said.

Mayor Thompson will lobby Capitol Hill in Washington next week as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors advocacy for common sense gun laws which require Congressional action.

The article above provided by the Office of the Mayor of Harrisburg.