The New York Times' Michael Cooper reported from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, capturing the effusive reaction to President Obama's gun-control proposals. In his report, "Recalling Pain Of Guns' Toll, Mayors Urge Bills' Passage – Heartened After Years Of Pushing for Laws ," Cooper came off less a hard-bitten reporter than an emotionally over-involved storyteller, pushing for someone to do something about gun violence. (No matter that none of the mayoral anecdotes he relayed included mass shootings like the one in Newtown).
The Mayors Conference is perhaps best known for its grossly exaggerated hunger in America reports, cynically timed for the holiday season when people are tucking into turkey. Times Watch examined the reports from 1987 to 2002 several years ago, and found the Mayors' group was claiming an implausible 1240% increase of hunger in America during that period, which sounds more like North Korea than the most prosperous and democratic nation on earth.
Some mayors spoke about the bad feeling they got with each call that there had been another shooting in their city. Others described the pain of burying police officers who had worked for them. Many recalled their attempts to console grieving families.
So as mayors from around the nation gathered here on Thursday for the 81st winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors, many said they were heartened by President Obama’s call for new laws to curb gun violence, which included several measures that the conference had sought for decades. Many said they planned to urge Congress to enact them.
Many mayors said they were eager at the prospect that new gun laws might pass.
Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, S.C., who has been in office for more than three decades, said he hoped that the country would “seize this moment.”
“I know that no police officer wants to be confronted with an assault weapon,” he said. “They would be out-ammoed. And I think that it’s time for our country to deal with this, it’s time for Congress to deal with this.”
But even here, at a meeting of a group that has advocated stricter gun laws for decades, there was not unanimity. Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, a Republican, said he did not believe that the gun control proposals being discussed would “resolve the problem they’re trying to resolve.”