Updated 01/08/2013 05:57 PM
Binghamton leaders join gun control debate
From Newtown, Connecticut to Binghamton, New York and west to Arizona and Colorado, mass shootings have littered the headlines. Those tragedies are pushing some leaders throughout the country to push for change. Our Melissa Kakareka has more on what Binghamton city leaders, who have first-hand experience with this kind of violence, are doing.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It was almost four years ago when Jiverly Wong walked into the American Civic Association in Binghamton. He shot and killed thirteen people before killing himself. Since that April day in 2009, the Binghamton community has watched as similar shootings have unfolded in places such as Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut.
"These cases are beyond tragic and our thoughts and prayers continue to go with the family and friends of the lost here and across the country," said Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.
Tuesday, Mayor Ryan joined with local law enforcement to call on Congress to pass laws to help stop that kind of violence.
"We can't allow anymore Tucsons, Auroras, Sandy Hooks or Binghamtons. We deserve to be safe and we can make that happen now by coming together," said Mayor Ryan.
Ryan is a member of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He and other public officials are supporting three demands from the organization. They want to require background checks for all gun sales, ban military assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines and make gun trafficking a federal crime.
"We need this federal legislation to make our communities safe, our children safe. And it's beyond reason that they won't support this," said Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski.
The leaders say they believe these three restrictions can help keep communities safe without infringing upon people's second amendment rights.
"Once you have the discussion, it seems unanimous at least in the people I talk to, that they think these are reasonable restrictions that we all can agree upon," said Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen.
"I'm hopeful that both sides of the aisle can sit down and talk about it and come to a reasonable way to proceed as we go forward," added Mollen.
In addition to calling for a change in laws, Mayors Against Illegal Guns also released a new TV commercial featuring a mother who lost her daughter in the Tucson shooting. That will air in the Binghamton market.