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Gary mayor joins Biden, others in plea to end gun violence

Updated: May 19, 2013 7:47AM



About an hour after Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson participated in a video chat on gun violence Wednesday with Vice President Joe Biden, the U.S. Senate rejected a plan to expand background checks on firearms sales along with a ban on some semi-automatic weapons.

Freeman-Wilson, a leader in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, quickly tapped out a tweet:

“We must continue the fight to stop the use of illegal guns. I’m not giving up — how about you?”

Indiana’s two U.S. senators split their votes, with Sen. Joe Donnelly supporting the measure and Sen. Daniel Coats voting against it.

The other officials who spoke with Biden were: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and Oak Creek, Wis., Mayor Steve Scaffidi.

Feeman-Wilson told Biden she’s concerned about gun shows where background checks are ignored and illegal straw purchases are easy. She also told him she attended a double funeral two weeks ago of Shaqwone Ham, 19, and Charles Wood, 18, who were gunned down March 17 on the way to their grandmother’s house for dinner.

“The thing we can all agree on is no one wants to go to another funeral,” Freeman-Wilson told Biden. “A mother buried two sons killed at the same time.”

Freeman-Wilson called it one of the most heart-wrenching events she’s experienced. “It’s important to our law enforcement, our police who are out there protecting us every day, to have some level of security that the guns that are out on the streets aren’t in the hands of the wrong people.”

Biden cited polls showing that 90 percent of the American people support background checks. “The American people are way ahead of Congress,” he said.



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