WASHINGTON -- As President Barack Obama announced a series of gun-control proposals Wednesday, mayors from across the country converged on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to act.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns gathered in Washington to push three points that have made up the bulk of the organization's agenda, including standardized enforcement of gun laws nationally, an assault-weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines. The group framed its proposals as "common sense" actions designed to reduce gun violence.
"I am concerned about the attacks that have taken place, the stream of weapons out there," Roselle Park, N.J., Mayor Joseph Accardi (R), one of the 70 mayors present, told The Huffington Post. "Something has to be done."
After a briefing on the current status of gun-control legislation, the mayors had a chance to meet with members of Congress and congressional staffers to press for support on the gun issue. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D), the group's co-chairs, did not participate in Wednesday's lobbying efforts but issued a statement backing Obama's gun-control proposals.
Santa Fe, N.M., Mayor David Coss (D) told HuffPost that while the National Rifle Association continues to wield influence in Congress, he believes last month's school shooting in Connecticut -- along with the Aurora, Colo., movie theater massacre in July and the 2011 assassination attempt on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson -- has shifted public sentiment to allow for some form of gun-control legislation. Giffords, who was severely wounded in the 2011 shooting, has indicated that she intends to participate in the gun-control lobbying effort.
"I think it is going to be different," Coss said. "I think that we have got to try."
Cross said he has seen a rise in gun violence in Santa Fe, including three incidents in the last month. He pointed to polling in New Mexico showing support for responsible gun control and said that during a recent gun buyback day in Santa Fe, city officials collected 194 guns, including six assault rifles and 43 automatic weapons.
Roselle, N.J., Mayor Jamel Holley (D) also noted that his community has seen a rise in gun-related issues, mainly due to gangs. He said the mayors planned to share their local feedback with members of Congress, airing issues that often may not reach the halls of the Capitol.
The group included mayors representing a wide variety of communities. Fanwood, N.J., Mayor Colleen Mahr (D) noted that while her suburban community of 7,300 does not often experience gun violence, her duty as a mayor demands suburban residents to be heard on gun control.
"The mayor is elected to protect and serve," Mahr said. "This issue crosses geographic boundaries and socioeconomic boundaries. I can advocate on behalf of women and children and all taxpayers."
Also on HuffPost:
Increase Access To Background Check Data
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
Remove Legal Barriers On Background Checks
Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
Incentivize Sharing Of Background Check Data
Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
Review Criteria For Gun Ownership
Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
Background Checks For Returning Seized Guns?
Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
More Guidance On Background Checks
Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
Safe & Responsible Gun Ownership
Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
Gun Lock & Safes
Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Improve Gun Tracking In Criminal Investigations
Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
Report On Lost & Stolen Guns
Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
Nominate a director for Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
Training For Law Enforcement
Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
Maximize Enforcement Efforts On Gun Crime
Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
Increase Research On Gun Violence
Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Prioritize New Gun Technology
Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies
Clarify Obamacare On Doctors & Guns
Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
Inform Doctors On Reporting Threats
Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
School Resource Officers
Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
Develop Emergency Response Plans
Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
Clarify Scope Of Medicaid's Mental Health Coverage
Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
Finalize ACA Regulations
Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
Address Mental Health Parity
Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
Start Dialogue On Mental Health
Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.