WASHINGTON--Mayor Daley revved up a coalition of mayors on Thursday to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Chicago's handgun ordinance in the wake of the National Rifle Association challenge to be argued on March 2.
"For many years, the City of Chicago has had strong handgun laws in place. The gun industry's challenge to our handgun laws has already been dismissed by two federal courts and now they have taken their case to the US Supreme Court," Daley said at a press conference at the U.S. Conference of mayors. Daley was flanked by about 20 mayors who filed friend of the court briefs supporting the Chicago ban, including Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
"This summer, the Court will decide whether Chicago's guns laws are constitutional. The case could affect or open the door to countless -- and needless -- legal challenges to local and state gun laws across the country. Today, we stand here on behalf of the people of Chicago and the United States who have been victims of gun violence, on behalf of their families and loved ones and on behalf of all those who believe Chicago's current gun law is constitutional," Daley said.
Daley added later, "America rose up about smoking...why can't we have America rise up against gun violence?"
"This is about real leadership, standing up to the National Rifle Association," Daley said.
"He's been right on this issue for many years," said Tisdahl. "I believe we have the right to determine what will keep our young people safe."
Newsom said mayors have enormous responsibility and "self-determination should be afforded those who are accountable for the people they represent."
Nutter said, "There is no reason to have an m-16 in an urban environment/. The NRA is out of control."
Below, text of Mayor Daley's remarks on the National Rifle Association challenge to Chicago's handgun ban, delivered at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, followed by briefing sheet on friend of the court filings and lists of other supporters of the Chicago and Oak Park handgun bans. UPDATED.Backgrounder on Evanston....
Gun violence across America is a national disgrace.
In one year on average, more than 100,000 people in America are shot or killed with a gun.
Americans of all backgrounds and from every part of our nation -- big cities and small, urban and rural -- needlessly lose their lives because guns are too easily available in our society.
On college campuses, in malls, on our streets and in homes across our nation, gun violence has tragically ended the lives of people who were just going about their everyday lives.
The victims are our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters -- and our children.
Last year, 82 percent of Chicago's homicides were committed with a gun.
Just this week in Virginia eight people were killed by gun violence, the worst mass shooting there since Virginia Tech in 2007.
Gun violence challenges the s