More than 250 mayors from across the country issued a letter last week calling on the U.S. Senate to return to work to address gun safety measures passed by the House of Representatives in February.
One signature not affixed to the U.S. Conference of Mayors letter was that of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum.
Bynum said Thursday that he was aware of the letter but had not read it.
“I don’t sign group letters,” he said. “Anytime that I have an issue with the state or federal government, I contact my colleagues in those areas directly and talk with them directly about it.”
Bynum said his work as a congressional staffer and as a business owner who helped clients interact with the federal government taught him that group letters are not the best means to effect change.
“Especially as a mayor, I find that I can have a much more productive outcome, if it is an issue I feel strongly about, by just contacting members of our delegation or legislators or the governor,” he said.
Bynum has not completely eschewed the power of the pen. He joined Gov. Kevin Stitt, two area mayors and the state congressional delegation last month in sending a letter to the federal government asking that it fast-track a study of the Arkansas River levee system.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors letter was issued just days after the early August mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
Asked whether he had spoken with any state or federal legislators since the shootings to share his thoughts on potential gun control measures, Bynum said he trusts the “judgment of Sen. (Jim) Inhofe and Sen. (James) Lankford in evaluating the proper course relative to any specific bill on this matter before the Senate.”
He added that he could not speak to the proposed legislation referenced in the letter because he had not reviewed it.
The letter urges Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call lawmakers back to Washington to take action to “help reduce gun violence and the terrible toll it takes in our cities and our nation.”
The House bills would require background checks on all gun sales and extend the background check review period from three days to 10.
“The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are just the latest reminders that our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them,” the letter states.
The only Oklahoma mayor to sign the letter was Breea Clark of Norman.
Clark is Democrat. Bynum is Republican.
Oklahoma’s so-called constitutional carry law takes effect Nov. 1. It allows individuals to carry firearms without a permit or training. The law does not affect where a person could carry a gun.
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