Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer is among more than 250 leaders of U.S. cities urging the Senate to pass two bills aimed at reducing gun violence.
In an appearance on CNN on Tuesday morning, Dyer called for “sensible legislation to be enacted that will restrict firearm access to those who present extreme risk.”
Said Dyer: “If we are not willing to set aside our extremist views on controlling gun violence, mass shootings will happen with increasing frequency and soon become the norm in America.”
Mayors Want Action
At the recently concluded U.S. Conference of Mayors in Reno, the mayors renewed their call for the Senate to adopt two bipartisan background check measures passed last year by the House of Representatives.
In a letter, the mayors asked the Senate to act “in response to the recent tragedies in Uvalde and Buffalo and the continuing increase in gun violence that is plaguing our cities and our people across this nation.”
The mayors also wrote, “America has proven time and again that we can rise to our most difficult challenges. We look forward to working with you to find a way forward to protect our citizens from this senseless carnage.”
There were at least 246 mass shootings through Sunday, June 5, of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit tracking gun violence across the country.
Whether there is enough Republican support in the Senate to pass the bills is up in the air. Many Republican say that stiffer background checks reduce constitutional gun rights and will lead to the government taking guns from citizens.
Dyer Spells Out Recommendations for Reducing Gun Violence
In his CNN appearance, Dyer shared with the audience that he wasn’t “anti-gun” and as Fresno’s police chief, he had issued thousands of concealed weapons permits.
But he made clear that he supports universal background checks on all firearm sales and increased access to mental health treatment.
Dyer also called for a crackdown on those who illegally have guns and dealers “who knowingly facilitate ‘straw’ purchases.” Dyer additionally called for “preventing the manufacturing of parts that allow for ghost guns to be assembled.”
A Look at the Bills Dyer Supports
H.R.8, which is known as the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021,” sets new background check requirements for firearm transfers.
Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.
Bill proponents say it will close the “gun show loophole.”
The second bill that the mayors want to see moved to President Joe Biden for his signature is H.R. 1446.
Known as the “Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021,” the legislation extends the background check period from three business days to a minimum of 10 business days for any unlicensed gun buyer. Under current law, gun sales are allowed to proceed without a background check if three business days pass.
Backers of the bill say it would close the “Charleston loophole” — a reference to the 2015 murders of nine people by a white supremacist at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In that case, had the FBI completed a background check, the shooter would have been prevented from buying a firearm.
“Since 1998, the ‘Charleston Loophole’ has put over 75,000 guns into the hands of prohibited gun owners,” says South Carolina Rep. James E. Clyburn, who introduced the bill.