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Mayor Henry joins call for tighter gun laws

Monday, January 14, 2013 - 2:51 pm

Mayor Tom Henry wants Congress to tighten gun laws in the wake of the December mass shooting that left 26 school children and educators dead in Newtown, Conn.

As part of the Mayors against Illegal Guns coalition, Henry held a news conference Monday calling on leaders in Washington to ban assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, among other reforms.

"These types of weapons have no place in our community," Henry said. "They are designed to kill large numbers of people quickly." He added that he does not believe semiautomatic assault-style rifles have any sporting or hunting purpose.

Henry and other mayors are calling for reforms that include banning “military-style” assault weapons and magazines, requiring each person who buys a gun to pass a criminal background check and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the news alert said.

Henry said people who could not legally obtain firearms exploit loopholes that allow weapons to be sold at gun shows with no background check.

Angola Mayor Richard Hickman and Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York and Fire Chief Amy Biggs joined Henry at the news conference in Henry's office. Two other Indiana members of the national coalition, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, were unable to attend.

York said most homicides in Fort Wayne are likely committed with guns that have been obtained illegally or by people without permits, though he did not cite specific data.

"It's fair to say that firearms that are involved in homicides here in Fort Wayne are in the hands of people," who should not have guns, York said.

Mayors against Illegal Guns, founded in 2006, includes 800 mayors and is co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The group was set to hold events across the country to mark the one-month anniversary of the Newtown shootings.

A new television ad about gun violence also was set to begin running in the Fort Wayne market, the alert said.

Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, went into Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with a semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle Dec. 14 and killed 20 children and six school employees before killing himself. He also killed his mother in New Jersey before going to the school.