Mayor Nutter calls on Congress to enact gun law reforms (UPDATED)

mayor michael nutter calling for gun reform at widener library
Mayor Michael Nutter gave his speech at a North Philadelphia library. Credit: Paige Ozaroski/Metro

Mayor Michael Nutter was at a North Philadelphia library Thursday as a part of a National Day to Demand Action on gun legislation.

Flanked by children and advocates, Nutter and Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel called on Congress to require background checks for all gun sales, which are currently required for purchases from licensed shops, but not from private sellers.

“Background checks are already required for sales at licensed gun shops,” Bethel said. ”Dealers are already required to keep a record of the sale. Why can’t we hold private sellers to the same standards? The guns they sell are no less deadly than the guns sold by licensed dealers.”

Nutter called universal background checks “the single most effective thing we can do to get guns out of the hands of criminals.”

“It’s like setting up two different lines at the airport – one where you have to go through security and one where you don’t,” Nutter said. “Which one do you think the criminals are going to choose?”

He said the checks need to be “comprehensive and enforceable.”

“That means making sure that people who buy guns in private sales are checked, and the gun store that conducts the check keeps a record of the sale in case the gun is traced from a crime,” he said.

“Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and people with severe mental illnesses from buying firearms.”

Nutter called out Congress members for failing to act on a bill mandating universal background checks, which is currently stalled in committee.

“To be brutally blunt about it, I’m not sure what Congress is doing right now,” he said. “They need to schedule a vote – we’ve had enough talking.”

A 10-year-old boy during a lull in the rally told Nutter two of his friends were shot in the head.

“I didn’t know anyone who was shot when I was 10 years old,” Nutter said, becoming emotional as he recalled his own childhood in West Philadelphia. “This needs to stop so our children won’t know a friend or a classmate who has been shot.”

Day of advocacy

Mayors Against Illegal Guns – which counts Nutter among its members – and advocacy groups Organizing for Action and Americans for Responsible Solutions organized more than 100 similar events targeted at members of Congress, who are in recess during the Easter-Passover break.

The National Day to Demand Action is expected to be the largest gun violence advocacy event in history and is part of the largest field campaign aimed at gun violence in U.S. history.

Faces of gun violence

Also present at the rally were gun violence victims and advocates who’ve lost loved ones.

Neighborhood resident Joe Davis has been in a wheelchair since a 14-year-old shot him 30 years ago. “Every day this chair serves as a reminder of what we’re all fighting for,” he said.

“Commonsense legislation is a long time coming,” said Mothers in Charge advocate Donna Giddings, whose mother, son and friend were shot to death eight years ago just blocks away from the library.

“It’s common sense to not allow a person to buy a gun without investigating their background.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…