A CNN appearance this week in which Jerry Dyer advocated for sensible gun violence reduction measures is drawing criticism from gun-rights activists, the Fresno mayor said Thursday.
“Boy, have I taken some criticism because I’m trying to promote sensible restrictions on who accesses firearms in our country and to eliminate the manufacturing of guns or parts that allow for what’s called ‘ghost’ guns or firearms out there that are not traceable by law enforcement,” Dyer said at a Fresno City Council meeting.
Ghost guns are firearms assembled from individual components purchased online or from private parties. They are unregistered and don’t have serial numbers.
In a recent interview with ABC30’s Dale Yurong, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama cited ghost guns as a challenge to reducing violence.
Balderrama said that 20% of the guns taken off the streets by Fresno officers are ghost guns.
“They’re called ghost guns because you can’t trace them,” Balderrama said. “They’re like ghosts.”
Dyer Urges Senate to Pass Background Check Bills
Dyer said he spoke out nationally because of the mass killing scourge in the United States. His comments came several days after he joined more than 250 U.S. mayors in calling on the Senate to adopt bipartisan legislation passed in the House that would eliminate loopholes in federal background check laws.
“As a former police chief, I spent far too many nights in hospitals with families who were grieving the potential loss of their children,” Dyer said Thursday. “And, although it’s never happened to me, I’ve had that firsthand look.
“We must do something then. These extremist views that occur from the left to the right are creating a paralysis in our country that is preventing (us) from doing the right thing.”
The mayor pointed out that his thoughts about gun control haven’t changed since he was Fresno’s police chief and the changes he’s calling for are endorsed by other big-city police chiefs.
“It is important that we speak out, that we recognize the victims behind these senseless acts of violence,” Dyer said. “We are going to take action here locally, but I’m going to allow my voice to be heard nationally.”
Local Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence
The mayor’s spokeswoman, Sontaya Rose, pointed to putting police officers back in middle schools, adding 37 officers in the proposed 2022-23 budget, and efforts to combat gang activities as examples of Dyer’s local commitment to reducing gun violence.
Rose also said that homicides are down by 34.3% and shootings have declined 28.4% in Fresno this year.