YONKERS - A group of five Westchester mayors, all part of the bipartisan Mayors Against Illegal Gun Coalition, have written a joint letter to the president and leaders of Congress to press for stricter gun laws.

White Plains Mayor Tom Roach says if there was ever a time for President Barack Obama and federal lawmakers to step up to the plate and strengthen laws against gun violence, the time is now.

Roach and the mayors of Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Peekskill say the tragedy in Newtown has brought the gun control issue to forefront.

They say that even with strict gun laws in New York, weapons arrests in cities like Yonkers prove that illegal gun crimes are far too common.

The mayors are asking that officials require every gun buyer in the country to clear a background check.

They also want to ban high-capacity, military-style weapons and make selling firearms without a federal license a federal crime.