PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh mayoral candidates are calling on Congress to end gun violence. It is part of today’s “National Day to Demand Action.”

When it comes to universal background checks on anyone who wishes to purchase a gun, you won’t find much disagreement among the five Democratic candidates for mayor of Pittsburgh.

“It’s refreshing to be here today with everyone where we can agree on a very important issue,” said City Councilman Bill Peduto.

That issue brought Peduto, Michael Lamb, Jake Wheatley, J.R. Richardson and Jack Wagner – through a representative – together with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to urge Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey to vote for universal background checks.

“Background checks are common sense,” said Peduto.

“We have a lot of neighborhoods where people live in fear,” added Lamb. “They live in fear of violence, violence caused in many parts by the narcotics trade and the plethora of guns.”

Controller Lamb said the issue of gun violence goes beyond specific neighborhoods.

“It really affects every Pittsburgher and, working together, that’s the way we’re going to end this,” he said.

State Rep. Jake Wheatley called those opposing checks fringe groups.

“When I joined the Marine Corps, and before they gave me my M16, they made sure I was qualified to have one and trained to use one,” said Wheatley.

“I’ve seen firsthand the dangers of crime, and drugs and gun-related violence,” said community activist J.R. Richardson.

While supporting background checks, Richardson cautioned: “We can make all the laws in the world, but people are very crafty, very manipulative, and they’re going to find a way to get around the laws.”

Although former Auditor General Jack Wagner could not be there today, his representative said Wagner was on board with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, reminding that Wagner had sponsored an assault weapons ban in Pittsburgh as a City Council member.

A vote on background checks could come in the Senate next week, although some Republicans have threatened to filibuster the measure.

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