Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Senator Elizabeth Warren discussed gun violence prevention on Friday, championing reforms including a criminal background check on anyone buying a gun in the country.
"Now is the time to turn words into actions, to line up supporters and to mobilize all Americans behind common sense gun reform," Menino said after walking to the podium with a cane at the Parkman House.
Menino joked with Warren, calling her the "senior" senator of Massachusetts, then turned serious about three major points key to gun violence prevention:
- A ban on assault weapons – "There is no need for assault weapons with high (capacity) magazines," he said.
- Fixing the background check system. "6.6 million guns were sold without background checks last year. Sold at gunshows, private sellers, ads, and on the internet. We must close this loophole and keep guns out of dangerous hands," he said.
- Making gun trafficking a federal crime.
Warren said she's sponsored three bills being unveiled next week that support those three points. Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, is filing the Fix Gun Checks Act to close the gap in current laws by requiring a criminal background check for every gun sale. This would include gun shows, internet, and unlicensed private sellers.
The second bill is being filed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, to make gun trafficking a federal crime. The third bill is being filed by Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, for a national assault weapons ban.
"We lost more than 6,000 children to gun violence in the last two years. That’s an average of eight children a day," Warren said. "If eight children a day were dying from a mysterious illness, as a country we would use all our resources to fix it to find the root cause of the virus and to reduce its impact."
Warren said she learned to shoot when in grade school with her family.
"Responsible gun ownership has a place in this country. No one needs a Rambo-style high capacity magazine to protect a family or hunt game," she said.
State Rep. David Paul Linsky, D-Natick, was also on hand but did not speak. Menino and Warren acknowledged him because of his idea to mandate gun insurance for gun owners. Menino called it a creative approach, adding that cups of coffee have warning labels for being hot, but guns don't have warning labels.