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Rick Kriseman, Jane Castor and 200 mayors call on Congress to strengthen gun background checks

‘Every elected official needs to act,’ the St. Petersburg mayor said
Ellen Moses holds up a sign during a vigil at Williams park in honor of the lives lost at El Paso and Dayton, this weekend. [ANGELIQUE HERRING   |   Times ]
Ellen Moses holds up a sign during a vigil at Williams park in honor of the lives lost at El Paso and Dayton, this weekend. [ANGELIQUE HERRING | Times ]
Published Aug. 8, 2019
Updated Aug. 8, 2019

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor have joined a growing list of leaders from American cities that want Congress to quickly address gun violence after three mass shootings in one week.

More than 200 mayors have signed a letter to Senate Leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer calling on the upper chamber to pass two bipartisan bills that would extend the period for background checks to 10 days and close loopholes for gun shows and person-to-person sales.

“We urge you to call the Senate back to session now to take up and pass these bills to help reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes in our cities and our nation,” the letter, circulated by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, says. “Quick passage of these bills is a critical step to reducing gun violence in our country.”

Both bills already passed the House earlier this year. But McConnell, the Republican leader, has been unwilling to bring them up for a vote in the Senate.

President Donald Trump said he was open to strengthening background checks after the mass killings last weekend in El Paso and Dayton. But he has backed down from similar statements after past shootings. The National Rifle Association has pressured him to do so again.

In announcing his support, Kriseman tweeted:

Kriseman and Castor join 13 other Florida mayors to sign the letter, including the heads of Miami and Orlando.