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Mayors Favor Collective Letter On Federal Gun Reform

Orinda Mayor Amy Worth signs on to letter; Moraga Mayor Dave Trotter says he's supportive, will bring it before the Town Council.

The mayor of Orinda has signed on to the national mayors' letter seeking gun law reform.

The mayor of Moraga is in favor but first will bring the idea before the Town Council.

A letter signed by 750 mayors in the nation — including dozens from California — has gone to President Obama, calling for federal action to curb gun violence in the country. The letter was written by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns and was sent to President Obama last week in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting Dec. 14.

Orinda Mayor Amy Worth got on to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns' website and signed on to the letter. "I'm profoundly, deeply saddened by what happened," Worth said. "It is important for the mayors of the nation to say we need to address this."

The mayors' letter advocates:
• toughening requirements for criminal background checks for gun buyers.
• getting military-style and high capacity rifles off the street
• making gun trafficking a federal crime.

Also, Worth said, she feels government needs to increase funding for mental health services and research. Advances in understanding about brain function need to be applied to curbing violent behavior in mental patients, she said.

Newtown, Conn., and Orinda are towns similar in size and demographics. Worth said she felt the irony that one city was "suffering unimaginable pain and agony" while, on the other coast, one was "celebrating a lovely honor" — Orinda's designation on Forbes.com as the second friendliest in the country.

Moraga

Moraga Mayor Dave Trotter said, "I'm generally supportive of the need for Congress to pass legislation addressing gun violence, so as mayor I am certainly prepared to sign the letter." In the interest of collegiality, he said, after consultations with the town manager and police chief, the item will be places on the Moraga Town Council's agenda for approval at its Jan. 9 meeting.

"First, I believe my fellow Councilmembers may also wish to have an opportunity to express support for the mayors letter or otherwise to express their views on the subject," Trotter wrote in a letter. "I certainly would, if the shoe were on the other foot. Second, putting this item on the Council agenda may also give Moraga residents an opportunity to address the problems of gun violence and the proliferation of semi-automatic weapons in our country in a constructive way, and ultimately provide a positive learning experience for our community."

Steve Cohn December 24, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Kudo's to Mayor Worth. I encourage Mayor Trotter to follow suit and question his council if they disagree. This is coming right down to the grass roots which the most liberal and the most conservative can agree on. Do we live in fear of being gunned down on our streets or in our schools or not? Is this worth arming ourselves against the possibility our government "going rogue"? If 13,000 innocents died every year from Small Pox or another preventable disease would we say "that is collateral damage"? If we could keep 20,000 of our loved ones from putting a gun to their head because they had a particularly bad day or a weak moment, would we? Or would we say "they are in a better place"? Risk and reward. Cost and benefit. Are you feeling lucky?
Chris Nicholson December 24, 2012 at 04:01 AM
It is irrational and disingenuous to argue that banning additional guns/accessories will have any meaningful impact on gun deaths (unless you want to talk about home to home sweeps and confiscation of common handguns, which is not realistic (unless your name is Bloomberg)). It is sensible and not controversial (except from the NRA) that we should do a better job of enforcing existing instant background check laws, including at gun shows. I think we need an honest debate about what we can do to change our posture vis-a-vis the mentally ill and balance the interests of freedom with the interest of protecting mentally unstable people from harming themselves or others. I personally think we can make positive changes here, but I would start with an emphasis on the primary duty of family to detect and intervene more aggressively when danger signs crop up. It is unclear to me what new law will prevent a suicide or mass murder. Gotta focus on detection and intervention, which starts at home, IMHO.
Steve Cohn December 24, 2012 at 05:01 PM
It may be irrational and disingenuous but, unfortunately, this is what the statistics indicate. An Australian, Mark Reid, put together some graphs showing the correlation of gun Ownership to gun Deaths for the 34 nations that make up the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - the top per-capita economies in the world, mostly Europe and North America). What he found was an almost linear correlation between Guns-Owned-Per-Capita and Gun-Deaths-Per-Capita with the US way ahead of the pack with both ownership and deaths per capita; twice as high as the next contender (Switzerland) and three to five times as high as most other "developed" countries. Now gun deaths per guns owned is small (one death per year per 10,000 guns owned) but the collective impact of 300,000,000 guns produces 30,000 deaths per year with little benefit (meat on the family table?) to show for that carnage. So for every million guns we get "off the streets" could save 100 lives per year. What's the value of 100 lives? It does not look like he made these numbers up. http://mark.reid.name/iem/gun-deaths-vs-gun-ownership.html I have seen other studies that show that a gun owner is much more likely to be killed or injured, or have a loved one killed or injured, by a gun in the home than to ever use that weapon for self defense. The fact that 60% of gun deaths are suicides indicate what the predominate lethality of these weapons are.
Chris Nicholson December 24, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Would you rather be murdered with a gun or a knife? Guns are correlated with gun deaths. Duh. But look at overall homicide rates and picture becomes much fuzzier. Murder rate in CT is lower than in Europe. Suicide is a mental health issue, plus in generally does not involve more than 10 shots fired or a large black plastic rifle. A rational argument would focus on: (i) handguns only, (ii) mental health issues and (iii) the factors causing young black men to murder each other with handguns. Murder rate (all weapons) by country/state/region: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate Murder rates by race: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/race.cfm
Chris Nicholson December 24, 2012 at 08:44 PM
@Steve: I was going to also point out the silliness of comparing "number of guns" to crimes stats since there is no reason to believe that having 10 guns makes you (significantly) more likely to murder someone than having 8 guns. It is obvious that there are more guns than gun owners. In general, when the marginal gun is purchased in the U.S., it is not the buyer's first gun. Similarly, if you ban certain guns, you will likely not impact gun ownership percentage, just the mix of guns that existing owners/collectors own. As as aside, some of the weapons up for ban are among the most popular guns out there and are already widely held. What you want to look at is PERCENTAGE of people who own one or more guns versus crime. Also, international studies are skewed. Better to compare various U.S. States. I was going to pull this data for you, by Google reveals that someone already did the OLS regression analysis on gun ownership versus both Gun Murder and All Murder, for each of the 50 states. Wanna guess the R^2? You'll have to click: http://www.objectobot.com/?p=476

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