CHICAGO—Following a weekend of four major shootings in 6 hours covering four cities, over two dozen Democratic mayors turned to the White House for solutions, asking President Joe Biden to push for tighter federal gun laws.
A total of 27 Democratic mayors sent a letter to Biden on Monday advocating for universal background checks, bans on so-called “assault weapons” and restrictions on gun sales.
They also want Biden to take on more “soft power interventions” by pouring money into the minority communities that bear the brunt of gun violence.
The weekend shooting spree left seven dead and 32 injured in Chicago, Austin, Cleveland, and Savannah. The shootings took place among outdoor crowds.
So far, 2021 has been more deadly than 2020—the pandemic year that saw a record rise of violent crimes nationwide. Across the nation, over 9,000 people died of gun wounds this year (suicides excluded,) according to Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit which gathers data from nearly 7,500 law enforcement, government, and media sources.
Cleveland Mayor Nan Whaley, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the main organizer behind the mayoral letter, said at the Tuesday press conference, “We want to work with President Biden through executive actions to strengthen the tools we already have, and we want him to know that we will stand with him to drive Congress to get off the sidelines and do something.”
In April, following a pair of mass shootings, Biden took a series of gun-related executive actions, including new rules on so-called “ghost guns.” Ghost guns are assembled at home without serial numbers and thus hard to track.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the same conference, “This isn’t about imposing on someone’s Second Amendment rights. It is about making sure that our children have a real future, that we don’t keep hearing from our parents that they’re afraid to let their children out on a warm sunny day.”
Kourtney Redmond, president of pro-Second Amendment 761st Gun Club in Chicago, thinks otherwise. Gun restrictions have made it difficult for his law-abiding members—many of whom are black gun owners—to protect themselves amid the crime wave, he said.
For example, club member Wanda David had to wait eight months for her firearm owner’s identification card (FOID). David applied for it in August 2020 so she could buy a gun for self-protection amid a rise in carjackings in Chicago. She received the ID in April this year. David told The Epoch Times that she was deprived of her right to bear firearms guaranteed by the Second Amendment during the months of waiting.
According to Illinois law, Illinois residents must have a valid FOID card when they purchase or possess firearms. Illinois is just one of a handful states that have FOID laws, Redmond said. His organization has advocated for years to get rid of the Illinois FOID law.
“We have gun controls in Chicago already, we have all these other restrictions in Illinois, and they haven’t worked.” Redmond said.
Chicago has long topped the homicide chart among major U.S. cities. With 310 homicides, 2021 is the deadliest year the city has seen in over a decade. Nine out of 10 deaths are due to gunshots.