Local mayors are calling on Congress to adopt nationwide background checks for all gun purchases.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was among those appearing Wednesday with the Mayors Against Illegal Guns group and CeaseFirePA.

Pawlowski and other mayors said they're in favor of federal background checks to make sure criminals, and the mentally ill don't get their hands on guns.

They also point to overwhelming poll numbers that support their cause.

"We are all for the second amendment," Pawlowski said. "We are all for people having the right to bear arms, but you need to have federal background checks to make sure those people who do have those guns are not criminals, are not felons, they don't have mental illness."

Pawlowski added that loopholes exist in many states for certain individual gun purchases and a federal background check is necessary to close them.