Nation's Mayors Urge Obama, Congress to Take Control of Gun Laws

The lawmakers also want more funding for mental health services.

Posted: 12/19/2012 11:06 AM EST

It shouldn't take the mass killing of 20 innocent children to force lawmakers to finally confront the gun laws and mental health issues that lead to such unspeakable acts of violence. But now that President Obama and members of Congress have pledged to do so, mayors from some of the nation's largest cities are putting on the pressure to hold them at their word.

In an open letter sent to Obama and Congress on Dec. 18, the mayors called for support for proposed legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines; strengthening the national background check system and eliminating its loopholes; and strengthening penalties for straw purchases of guns.

Like all but the hardest of hearts, they, too, are shocked and saddened by what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week. But, it's also an unfortunate truth that mayors in cities big and small are often called to deal with senseless gun violence on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

"We're calling on the president to do what he can by way of executive order and then, certainly the Congress, through the power of legislation, to make America a safer place, deal with issues of violence, don't make cuts to programs and services and funding for mental health support … that's a part of what's going on even in the fiscal cliff debate," Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Nutter, who is the president of the mayors' group, added that cutting funding for mental health services and programs "never made sense, but now it really makes no sense."

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(Photo: REUTERS/Chip East)

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