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Guns will be on the table when Mayor Coleman attends Washington mayors' meeting

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will be in Washington, D.C., later this week for a U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting. Many issues are to be discussed, and guns will be on the table. Figuratively.

Vice President Joe Biden, who's heading the president's gun policy task force, will speak to the mayors on Thursday.

Mayors from some places might not agree with the direction that Biden and the president appear to be taking, including making gun trafficking a federal crime, universal background checks, some type of assault weapons ban, restrictions on high-capacity magazines.

But in Coleman's case, Biden will be preaching to St. Paul's choir.

Coleman has signed on to a letter from many of the nation's mayors that asks Congress to take immediate action to stop the gun violence:

"Too many times this year, mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting.  Even more frequently, many of us must cope with the gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities."

The St. Paul City Council, too, has voted to ask state legislators to toughen gun laws. It approved a motion by Council Member Chris Tolbert that encourages legislators to ban semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines and to implement more vigorous background requirements and checks for gun purchases.

Tolbert said: "Gun violence continues to affect our country, state and city. For the safety of the citizens of St. Paul and our law enforcement officers, we need to work to make reasonable amendments to our gun laws at the state and federal level."

Coleman's office says the mayor will be involved in the gun discussion when he gets to D.C. later this week. Among the changes he and other mayors want to see:

  • Legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines
  • A stronger national background check system that eliminates loopholes
  • Stronger penalties for those who buy used guns for others.

Also on the agenda for the mayors' conference, which runs Thursday through Saturday:

  • Job Creation
  • Fiscal Cliff Agreement and Sequestration
  • Threat to Tax-Exempt Financing
  • Superstorm Sandy Response
  • Immigration.

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