Nation's mayors press for new gun laws on Capitol Hill

Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns John Feinblatt (C) speaks during a news conference January 16, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Mayors from cities across the U.S. are meeting in Washington this week, and gun violence is on their agenda. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, a group of mayors has become one of the loudest voices in favor of new gun laws.

More than 800 mayors belong to Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The coalition's stated goal is "protecting the rights of Americans to own guns, while fighting to keep criminals from possessing guns illegally."

"For them, it's not abstract," says John Feinblatt, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's chief policy advisor. "For federal officials, it often is too abstract."

This week, many mayors have been on Capitol Hill, and Feinblatt says they plan on coming back back. "They will be saying, 'Why shouldn't we make our country safer? Can't we respect the Second Amendment, and at the same time, have sensible gun laws?'"

According to Lee Drutman, a senior fellow with the Sunlight Foundation, on paper, at least, the group is outmatched.

"The NRA completely dwarfs what the gun control advocates are spending," he says.

But since the shooting in Newtown, Conn., 111 new mayors have signed on.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.

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