Hales calls on lawmakers to end 'national crisis' of gun violence

Hales calls on lawmakers to end 'national crisis' of gun violence

PORTLAND, Ore. – Mayor Charlie Hales on Monday called on Congress and the Oregon Legislature to take steps to end illegal gun violence.

"This is a national crisis," Hales said. "When is Congress going to do something about it? The answer needs to be now and I plan to work to make sure it is."

Friday, Hales joined the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which includes hundreds of mayors from around the country. “Mayors in small towns and major cities all over the country are joining together in this cause of common sense,” Hales said.

“We need a law in this nation that requires that every gun buyer have a criminal background check. We need to get military-style assault weapons off of our streets. We need to get high-capacity ammunition clips off of our streets and we need to make gun trafficking a federal crime,” Hales added.

“Those are things we can do, and that we should do to make our society safer and make Portland the kind of place where these tragedies are less likely to happen.”

Hales admitted his knowledge of Oregon gun law was lacking. During the news conference, Hales said he thought gun registration was a requirement in Oregon, which is not the case.

"You notice that the Mayors Against Illegal Guns are not trotting out a specific piece of legislation, but a set of objectives," he said. "I share those set of objectives, and I'm going to call on those legislators to take up that issue and sweat the details you're talking about."

Hales also called on the Oregon Legislature, which convened Monday, to make ending gun violence a priority. He said he called on national and state leaders to make changes because the City of Portland has limited power.

Hales said he plans to travel to Washington, D.C. on Friday to meet with other mayors in the group.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said Monday said he is reviewing a range of proposals to reduce gun violence, including executive actions that would bypass Congress. Obama said he would present his plan within days.

“I'm confident there are some steps we can take that don't require legislation and that are within my authority as president,” Obama said in a news conference in the East Room of the White House.

Monday marked the one-month anniversary of the deadly school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"We should stay angry that those people were lost to gun violence - in ways that might be prevented by common sense regulations - and that's what we're talking about here," said Hales.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.