Sept. 11 (UPI) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom and 11 other Democratic governors urged President Donald Trump to pass federal gun reform laws including a ban on assault weapons, among other restrictions on purchasing firearms.
In a letter Tuesday, the governors said the recent high-profile deaths in the country due to gun violence is "a failure in leadership" and to fix the problem will require a national policy as a "patchwork of state laws" is insufficient.
"We need to treat gun violence like the crisis it is," Gavin said in a statement. "We are past the tipping point. We need Washington to spare us the empty rhetoric, listen and take meaningful action. Lives are literally on the line."
The four policies the governors urged the president to work with Congress to pass are: universal background checks, assault weapon and high-capacity magazine bans, stricter reporting requirements to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed dangerous by mental health professionals, and the Extreme Risk Protection Order that would prevent anyone who poses a risk to themselves or others from purchasing a gun.
"Putting an end to the gun violence epidemic is not a Republican or Democratic issue, it is an American issue," the governors said in the letter. "Gun deaths do not have to be the norm. The time is now to break the cycle by enacting common-sense measures."
The letter was signed by Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Ned Lamont of Connecticut, John Carney of Delaware, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Kate Brown of Oregon, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, Jay Inslee of Washington and Newsom.
The letter from the governors came on the day House Democrats held a forum on gun violence prevention and a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York sent the president a letter to urge him to support a House-passed law to require background checks that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has blocked.
"We implore you to seize this moment when your leadership and influence over Republicans in Congress on the issue of guns is so critical," the pair said. "... We believe you have a unique opportunity to save American lives by giving political cover to your fellow Republicans to finally pass meaningful gun safety legislation. The time to act is now before more lives are lost."
Democrats have taken up the cause of gun law reform in the wake of several recent mass shootings, urging Trump and McConnell to pass gun-related laws.