San Francisco, Aug 18 (IANS) San Francisco Mayor London Breed threw her weight behind an anti-gun violence advocacy group in the Bay Area to urge the federal government and lawmakers in Congress to take action to control gun-related crime.
Addressing a rally by the Bay Area chapters of gun safety group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, held in front of the City Hall in downtown San Francisco on Saturday, Breed blamed in part the gun-related violence to an underground market of weapons and easy access to guns by people, including children, Xinhua reported.
“We also know that it’s too easy to get guns, just more easy to get guns in this country than it is to get books,” she told the audience at the rally attended by other city officials, supervisors and California state lawmakers.
Recalling her own childhood in San Francisco where she grew up in public housing, Breed said she saw a person was shot and killed in a neighbourhood when she was “just hanging out” with her friends.
“We experienced a lot of gun violence,” she said.
She hoped the lawmakers in Congress would take action and do their jobs in passing comprehensive legislation on background checks for people who want to own weapons, so that “our kids are not walking to school in fear.”
“Ultimately, what’s most important is there has to be accountability for making sure that we create a better future for the next generation of young people,” she said.
California Assemblyman David Chiu said the American people, especially San Franciscans, are “sick and tired” of the lack of action by the government and Congress to take meaningful measures to curb gun violence.
He said he has played a role in enacting the “most sweeping gun safety laws” in the United States, but “we are hamstrung because the federal government refuses to act and move forward.”
A 17-year-old high school girl in San Francisco spoke out at the rally, telling a story about her 15-year-old brother who was shot and killed in July this year.
“Nobody deserves to lose their life at 15 years old, and nobody deserves to lose their life at all,” she chanted emotionally at the rally, vowing to do all she can to make a change and fight for gun control.
Elizabeth Moore, community outreach coordinator for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, told Xinhua that the demonstrators from the group’s chapters in the Bay Area were rallying here Saturday to press for two major policies related to gun control and safety — a federal legislation of universal background checks for all gun sales and a red flag law dedicated to gun violence prevention.
She said a resolution on background checks for people who intend to buy guns has been passed by the House of Representatives, and they want the Senate to take immediate action to make it get through Congress.
“The second thing we’re advocating for today is red flag laws, where a concerned family that has a family member who suffers an acute mental health crisis or has made threats against themselves can ask a court to temporarily suspend that person’s access to their guns,” she said.
The rally came after several mass shootings have taken place across the country this month — in El Paso of Texas, Dayton of Ohio, Philadelphia and Chicago, in addition to a massacre in Gilroy city of California in July.
Dozens of people have been killed and many more injured in gun-related violence this year, with the two shootings in El Paso and Dayton leaving at least 31 people dead over 50 others injured.