V.P. Harris supports mayors and their fight against gun violence
RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - About two dozen mayors gathered inside a conference room at the Peppermill to show their solidarity in combating the issue of gun violence on their streets.
As the debate rages on in Washington, they say their communities and citizens are literally in the line of fire.
“This is not an end for us,” said Quinton Lucas, Kansas City mayor. “This will be an ongoing struggle and fight that you will hear from every mayor in the country,” he said.
While the U.S. Conference of Mayors supports background checks and age restrictions to buy a gun, they also admit there is a mental health component to the problem.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve was placed in charge of a task force on mental health to look for solutions. A big job as many of the mass shootings have a mental health component attached to them.
Two hundred mayors from across the country are here to meet, discuss and come up with ideas on how to combat gun violence. Keynote speaker, Vice President Kamala Harris, gave these men and women the recognition she says they deserve.
She told the group they were perhaps the most accessible of all elected officials. The mayors are often stopped in the grocery store and asked about a pothole or a streetlight that is out.
However, she focused much of her speech to the group on gun violence, acknowledging cities are the first to feel the impact.
“No 86-year-old should fear for her safety to go to the grocery store,” the Vice President told the group. “No 9-year-old should be afraid to go to school. And no 18-year-old should be able to buy a weapon of war,” she said to applause.
The Vice President repeated President Joe Biden’s call for background checks, and age limits on gun purchases among other measures.
Mayors we talked to say among elected officials they feel they have the power to change things for the better.
“I don’t sort out whether is it under my jurisdiction or not,” says Sharon Broome, Mayor of Baton Rouge. “I try to reach out and offer a response. And I believe that is what all mayors do,” she says.
“So, we have to work with all the mayors regardless of their background, what they are and what kind of city they represent to solve these problems,” says Woody Brown, Mayor of Largo, Florida. “And the mayors are willing to do it,” he says.
In an unexpected speech, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the group. He asked them to consider having their city adopt a city in Ukraine, and he encouraged those cities that have a sister city in Russia to drop that relationship.
This is the first in person meeting for the mayors since 2019. The last time the conference was in Reno was back in 1988.
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