Park City mayor signs letter to Obama saying people ‘outraged’ with shooting |

Park City mayor signs letter to Obama saying people ‘outraged’ with shooting

Mayor Dana Williams is one of the mayors who signed a Wednesday letter to President Obama saying people are "outraged" with the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

It is believed to be the strongest statement made by Williams as a result of his affiliation with a nationwide group known as Mayors Against Illegal Guns. He joined the group earlier in 2012 after considering with Park City Councilors whether he should. There was little apparent interest at the time among Parkites, but the affiliation could become more noteworthy as the nation continues to debate gun laws after the elementary school tragedy in Connecticut.

Williams is listed alongside the other local-level leaders who belong to Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The co-chairs of the group are New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Williams is the only mayor from Utah listed as having signed the letter to the president. No other mayors from the state are members of the group.

The letter says the mayors want to work with Obama as gun violence is addressed.

"In the past few days, the American people came together in a national outpouring of grief and sympathy for the families of victims slain in the mass shooting in Newtown. We share in that grief," the letter to the president says. "But our constituents are also outraged and looking for leadership from the White House. We look forward to working with you to find a solution to gun violence in our country."

The letter asks Obama to pursue a gun policy that is "rooted in common sense." The group wants dangerous people to have more difficulty possessing guns and wants a crackdown by the police and prosecutors on illegal guns.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns says it supports the constitutional right of gun ownership. It says stopping people from obtaining illegal guns is the aim.

The letter to Obama outlines the group’s platform. Points in the letter include:

  • requiring criminal background checks of people who are purchasing guns
  • writing a new law that would ban guns that "have no appropriate civilian or sporting function." The letter describes such weapons as "high capacity rifles and ammunition magazines."
  • turning gun trafficking into a federal crime

    The letter, meanwhile, wants a director appointed to lead the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It also asks Obama to ensure the prosecution of prohibited people when they try to purchase guns, ammunition or magazines with a high capacity.

    "Together, we urge you to put forward an agenda that is rooted in common sense and that will make it harder for dangerous people to possess guns, and easier for police and prosecutors to crack down on them," the letter says.

    Williams was one of the speakers at a Thursday memorial outside Park City High School honoring the victims in Connecticut.

    In an interview, Williams said he approved his name being included in the letter to the president. He read the letter’s text before giving his approval. He said there is angst in Park City about what people see as the widened interpretation in recent years of the constitutional right to bear arms.

    "The time for a national discussion on weapons, and especially assault weapons, is appropriate," the mayor said.

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