Mayor Riley makes national statement against illegal guns

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Mayor Joe Riley is one of 900 mayors across the country taking a stand against illegal guns.

The group is called Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition. Riley and 30 others were featured in a public service announcement demanding that Congress take immediate action to reduce gun violence.

"I joined the coalition because it's what our citizens want," said Riley. "It's what police chiefs want, what Chief Mullen wants, what the law abiding people in America want."

The PSA asks specifically for legislation that would require background checks for all sales, limit military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and make gun trafficking a federal crime.

"Last year, six and a half million guns changed hands without background checks and that's how criminals get these guns," said Riley. "They can go to a friend or go to someone at a private sale and buy a gun."

Riley says this announcement is not an attack on the 2nd amendment. Riley is a gun owner himself. Instead, he says the mayors want to keeps guns out of the hands of the wrong people.

"Certainly anyone who hasn't committed a felony and hasn't had psychiatric care, involuntary psychiatric care, ought to be able to have gun. What we are doing doesn't in any way reduce that. It's just taking that extra step making the extra effort to get guns out of the hands of criminals and make it more difficult," Riley said. "Those are the guns that end up being part or causing a homicide or injury or terrorizing neighborhoods."

Still, Riley says he is against allowing assault weapons in restaurants/places where alcohol is served.

"I think certainly carrying guns into places where people are drinking is just adding fuel to the fire. The main interest of the citizens I believe, is how do we make our community safer? That should be the first question."

Riley is the only mayor in the Lowcountry, and one of only three mayors in South Carolina who are members of the coalition.