New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a leading national voice for new gun control laws, said President Barack Obama hasn’t made enough of an effort to ban ownership of assault weapons and restrict gun sales to criminals and mentally ill buyers.
Bloomberg, co-chairman of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, urged Congress to renew the ban on certain semi-automatic firearms that expired in 2004. He also called for improved databases to trace gun ownership, stricter enforcement against illegal gun trafficking and more laws to prevent sales to criminals.
“We just don’t need guns everyplace,” Bloomberg said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “We don’t need people carrying guns in public places. That’s not what the founding fathers had in mind. It doesn’t add to anybody’s safety. Quite the contrary, it makes us have a much more dangerous society.”
The mayor’s remarks came two days after the Dec. 14 rampage in a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school that left 27 shot dead, including 20 children, the second-worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Hours after the killings, Obama called on Americans “to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”
That’s not enough, Bloomberg said.
President Must Lead
“It’s time for the president to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do -- not go to Congress and say, ‘What do you guys want to do?’”
The president should make good on his 2008 campaign promise to reinstate the 1994 ban on so-called assault weapons, Bloomberg said. That would include the .223-caliber long rifle police say Adam Lanza, 20, used at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, he said.
Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, said all of the 20 child victims appear to been killed by a “long rifle” Lanza was carrying, and a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle was one of the weapons police found in the school, the New York Times reported.
In 2012 alone, there were at least seven mass murders -- killings of at least four -- in the U.S. that claimed at least 65 lives total.
Bloomberg co-chairs Mayors Against Illegal Guns with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The organization, which the two mayors founded in 2006, now has 725 participants across the country,
Bloomberg, 70, donated millions of dollars to seven candidates for U.S. Congress this year after they advocated restrictions on gun sales. Four of them won election against candidates supported with funds from the National Rifle Association. The mayor, a billionaire, is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg news parent Bloomberg LP.
“This myth that the NRA can destroy political careers is just not true,” Bloomberg said on NBC.
He said the organization’s failure to achieve its goal of denying Obama a second term showed its political weakness.
“The trouble is that the NRA is just never willing to have any restriction whatsoever, no matter reasonable it is. The Supreme Court, fortunately, was. They said having reasonable restrictions is consistent with the Constitution.”
“Nobody questions the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, but we don’t think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman and child could carry an assault weapon,” Bloomberg said. “The president, through his leadership, could get a bill like that through Congress. But at least he’s got to try. That’s his job.”