San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy signed a letter to President Obama Wednesday as part of a group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, calling for tighter gun control laws and other steps -- notably appointing an official to fill a top enforcement post that has been vacant for six years..
"Gun violence and easy access by civilians to weapons designed for use by soldiers on the battlefield are pressing issues nationwide and in the East Bay," Cassidy wrote in an email explaining his support for legislation at the federal and state level to prohibit the sale of assault rifles.
The letter Cassidy signed noted that "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."
Cassidy's group sent out its note on the same day that the U.S. Conference of Mayors wrote to the President and Congress with a similar agenda that called for three specific actions:
- Enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines being prepared by Senator Dianne Feinstein and others;
- Strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes in it; and
- Strengthen the penalties for straw purchases of guns.
"We know that preventing gun violence – whether it is a mass shooting in a school or a murder on a street corner – will take much more than strengthening our gun laws," the Conference of Mayors letter says. "We need to reverse the culture of violence in our nation so that a violent act isn’t the first response to settling a difference or compensating for a wrong."
But gun control laws shouldn't wait for other improvements to happen first, the letter says.
The two letters come less than a week after a . It goes on to say that Congress should increase funding for mental health care and establish a commission to look at violence in the country as a whole.
What do you think of the Mayor's position?