Big city mayors furious at mass shootings fear gun limits are out of reach
“It gets really, really frustrating in areas like this where a mayor doesn’t have control,” said Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas, a Democrat in a Republican-controlled state. He added that it was hard to tell a voter calling for new laws that “’I agree with you and wish I could change that but I have no control.’ This is an insufficient answer.
Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester, Minnesota, who unsuccessfully pushed gun control bills in her former role as the state’s Democratic legislator, said she wants the Legislature to state, where Republicans control a chamber, at least allow it to pass municipal gun restrictions, such as banning guns from the library or creating a weeks-long waiting period to purchase a gun. There is no indication that this will be the case. Ms. Norton is no longer affiliated with a political party.
Republicans opposed to increased gun control often point to places like Illinois, where guns are tightly regulated but homicides remain rampant, as proof that new restrictions won’t significantly reduce violence. Many instead called for investing in mental health programs, increasing funding for law enforcement and making schools safer. Democrats say they are missing the point.
“We don’t have the same conversation,” said Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wisconsin, who wants tougher gun laws. “Half the conversation is about, ‘How can we keep letting people die unnecessarily?’ and half the conversation is, ‘I need my gun, it’s my constitutional right.’ We are not even at the same table to talk about it.
Ms Rhodes-Conway was among several mayors who described constantly preparing for a late-night alert about a mass shooting in their city.
For Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, it happened Saturday night in Reno during a routine phone check-in with an aide. More than a dozen people had been shot at a popular gathering place over the weekend, he was told, and three of them had died.
Mr Kenney, a Democrat who was due to leave the Nevada conference on Sunday evening, said he was considering taking an earlier flight or even going to San Francisco airport, but there was no good options to get home early. “It’s like, ‘What? What?’ Mr. Kenney said of his initial reaction to the shooting. ‘And I can’t get out.’