Mayors hold meeting on violent crime crisis



CHICAGO (AP)—The proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic weapons has created a crisis of violence in the nation’s cities, and federal legislators should crack down on the availability of firearms, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said Monday.

‘‘Nobody’s getting killed in drive-by knifings; nobody’s getting killed in drive-by rock throwings. They’re getting killed in drive-by shootings,’‘ Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said.

Mayors and police chiefs from across the nation met in Chicago for what they billed as an ‘‘Emergency Meeting on Violent Crime in Cities,’‘ and urged federal lawmakers to adopt the Brady Bill and the federal crime bills pending in Congress.

The Brady Bill, which passed the House of Representatives last week, requires a five-day wait for handgun buyers while local police conduct a background check to weed out felons and the mentally unstable.

President Clinton has agreed to hold a summit meeting on violent crime with the organization, said Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, organization president.

‘‘The Brady Bill has got to be passed. That’s our number one priority,’‘ Abramson said.

Those gathered at the meeting also reached a consensus on other priorities, including:

_direct federal funding of anti-crime measures to city governments, rather than state agencies;

_seeking a ban on the sale and manufacture of assault weapons;

_seeking a ban on the possession of handguns by minors;

_the disclosure of federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms records on licensed gun dealers;

_mandatory sentences for those who use a firearm in the commission of a crime.

Several participants said an angry and frightened public would support tough anti-crime measures—if federal legislators would adopt them.

‘‘I applaud this country for supporting folks in distant borders. But we’ve got a war here,’‘ said Washington D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.

‘‘And it is utterly ridiculous to stand on a lot of protocol and patterns of the past when we’re dealing with a problem of the 90s, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Either step up to the plate and win it for the sake of America or there won’t be a quality America.’‘