Mayor Daryl Finizio is among hundreds of signatories on a letter to President Barack Obama demanding improved gun control after a shooter killed 26 people at a Newtown elementary school.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns - a coalition of over 750 mayors across the country seeking innovative ways to crack down on the use, sale, and trafficking of illegal guns - issued the letter on Wednesday. Finizio joined the group 10 days after he was sworn into office last year and is one of 10 Connecticut mayors in the organization. Two mayors not currently included in the organization's list of members - Adam Salina of Berlin and Ryan Bingham of Torrington - also signed the letter.
The letter asks Obama to "put forward an agenda that is rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them." It was also sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"In the past few days, the American people came together in a national outpouring of grief and sympathy for the families of victims slain in the mass shooting in Newtown. We share in that grief," the letter reads. "But our constituents are also outraged and looking for leadership from the White House. We look forward to working with you to find a solution to gun violence in our country."
The suggestions put forth by Mayors Against Illegal Guns that would necessitate action by Congress include requiring every gun buyer to pass a criminal background check, drafting a new assault weapons ban to replace a similar ban that expired in 2004, and making gun trafficking a federal crime. The coalition also suggested actions that can be directly taken by the Obama Administration including appointing a director to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; stronger prosecution against felons and other prohibited purchasers who attempt to buy firearms; requiring federal agencies to submit mental health records and other information that would prohibit a person from owning a gun to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and repealing restrictions on access to federal gun data.
Obama announced on Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will lead a task force on gun control issues and that proposals will be submitted to Congress no later than January. The president also spoke in favor of reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons and closing loopholes that allow buyers to avoid background checks.