Peduto joins mayors at White House to pressure Senate vote on gun control bills | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Peduto joins mayors at White House to pressure Senate vote on gun control bills

1650070_web1_ptr-pedutoguns1-091019
U.S. Conference of Mayors via Facebook
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, left, joins a bipartisan group of mayors from around the country, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, at the podium, in Washington to promote a pair of bills related to background checks for gun purchases during a meeting at the White House on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.
1650070_web1_Peduto-and-gun-survivors
Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto (center) meets in his conference room on June 7, 2019, with friends and relatives of people killed through gun violence. Peduto declared June 7 Gun Violence Awareness Day in the city.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto joined a group of bipartisan mayors from across the country Monday afternoon at the White House to call for a U.S. Senate vote on proposed legislation that would expand and strengthen background checks for gun buyers.

Peduto and other mayors — including several from cities that have been victimized by mass shootings — met with top domestic policy officials and senior advisers to President Trump. The group included a former Philadelphia police chief and the current chief of Houston, Texas.

“As the mayors spoke, the White House listened, and vice versa,” Bryan K. Barnett, mayor of Rochester Hills, Mich., and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said during a news conference in Washington shortly after the White House meeting.

“They didn’t commit to anything,” Barnett said of White House officials, “but they didn’t say no, and as an optimistic mayor, I’m confident that I heard an opportunity.”

Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Ky., described the interaction with Trump administration officials as “very constructive.” He said he and fellow municipal leaders see an urgent need for Congress to enact “common-sense gun legislation.”

“The frustration on the streets of America is palpable … The daily drumbeat of death that we feel in our cities — suicides by gun, urban violence,” Fischer said. “Washington needs to lead.”

Mayors from 278 cities across the country, including Peduto, signed a letter to Senate leaders calling for a vote on a pair of bills related to strengthening background checks — HR 8 and HR 112.

“The proposals we’re talking about are not radical,” Fischer said. “What’s radical is nothing is being done.”

HR 8 aims to expand background checks to include the private transfer of firearms between individuals. HR 112 extends the review period deadline for background checks from three to 10 business days. Currently, if a background check is not completed in three days, the sale can go through.

Both bills have cleared the House of Representatives.

“We want an up or down vote on HR 8 in the Senate,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. “It’s a very easy action, it’s not complicated. … We want a bipartisan spirit on common-sense gun legislation as soon as possible — so another city isn’t at the hands of another issue like Dayton.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he might call for a vote on such legislation — as long as Trump supports it.

The president recently said that any gun control measures must balance public safety with the Second Amendment.

During Monday’s meeting, White House officials indicated that they favor “a suite of solutions” when it comes to gun-related legislation, Barnett said.

But he and fellow mayors remain hopeful that the stand-alone bills they’re advocating have a chance to “break the political paralysis and bring needed change.”

“Mayors are pragmatic, and we will work with anyone who will help us achieve our desired goal,” he said. “For mayors, this crisis is personal. We are on the front lines of this tragedy. … No community should have to live in fear of gun violence.”

A Washington Post-ABC poll released Monday found that 86 percent of Americans support implementing “red flag” provisions, which permit courts to seize guns from people deemed a threat to public safety. Another 89 percent support expanding federal background checks, according to the poll.

At least 8 in 10 Republicans, white evangelical Christians, members of gun-owning households and other traditionally conservative groups support both measures, according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors live-streamed Monday afternoon’s news conference on its Facebook page and shared a copy of the letter sent to Senate leaders on Sunday.

Peduto, who was among about a dozen municipal officials present at the event, was not available for comment late Monday.

Peduto on Friday said he planned to welcome back the Senate, which has been on recess, and call for “immediate action” on the gun bills.

Friday was a deadline that Peduto set on Aug. 6, calling for a Senate vote on the bills within 30 days. Peduto set the same deadline for action by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on state-related gun legislation.

On Tuesday, the mayors’ group plans to head to the Capitol to meet with several senators.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.