As a long-time advocate of sensible gun control measures, the National Urban League stands ready to work with the governor, the president and others to end the epidemic of gun violence in America. Each year on average, more than 100,000 people are shot or killed with a gun in this country. The American people have had enough.
A Siena College survey shows that 73 percent of New Yorkers support the state’s expanded assault weapons ban and new limits on high capacity magazines. Recent national polls also show that the American people believe sensible gun control measures are more important than protecting gun rights. Clearly, it is time for state legislatures and Congress to put the safety of our children and the wishes of the people before the demands of the gun lobby which has used extremist rhetoric to promote a tortured and distorted interpretation of the Second Amendment. And let me be clear: While we understand the desire to promote safety and protect our children, we are adamantly opposed to arming teachers or placing armed guards in schools. Guns do not belong in schools.
As a nation, we have been horrified by the tragedies in Columbine, Aurora, Oak Creek and now Newtown. But as Americans, we should be equally heartbroken and outraged by the daily gun violence occurring in cities throughout the country. Since the Newtown massacre, there have been more than 1,000 additional gun deaths in this country, and several more school shooting incidents. The time for half-measures is over. As the president said last week, “I will put everything I’ve got into this and so will Joe Biden…but this will not happen unless the American people demand it.” We urge you to join the National Urban League in calling on Congress to work with the President to enact common-sense gun reforms. Our goal should be to make America the safest big country in the world.
(Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.)