Big-city mayors are invoking the massacre of 32 people at Virginia Tech in appeals to the Bush administration to tighten gun control laws, says the Boston Globe. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino called on President Bush to persuade the National Rifle Association “to back off these issues.” A national coalition of mayors on the gun issue grew to 214 with the addition of 27 mayors from New Jersey yesterday.
Menino pointed out that the guns Seung-Hui Cho used to kill 32 people and then himself were bought legally in Virginia. He said loose gun laws in Southern states cause the streets of Boston to be flooded with illegal guns. Like many cities, Boston is confronting a surge in homicides. The city is well ahead of the pace of last year’s total of 74 homicides, just one shy of the 10-year high of 75 in 2005. “A young person goes to one of those Southern states with liberal gun laws and brings them to Massachusetts and sells them out of trucks,” Menino said. “Why isn’t the president doing something about it?” The mayors will begin airing ads on network political talk shows Sunday favoring repeal of a law that prevents the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from sharing gun trace information with local law enforcement. The NRA backs the law because it protects the privacy of gun owners, whose weapons could be traced even when they are not used in crimes.