Bloomberg expands on his call for gun control action
By Gregory Wallace, CNN updated 3:20 PM EST, Mon Dec 17, 2012
(CNN) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate for increased gun control measures, on Monday added specifics to his calls for "immediate national action from the president and Congress" in the wake of Friday's mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.
"The time for talk is over. Congress and the White House [have] to come up with something that stops this carnage no matter what the political ramifications are," Bloomberg said. "Somehow or other, we've come to think that getting reelected is more important than saving lives, that political power is more important than saving lives, that partisan politics is more important than saving lives. Enough."
Bloomberg leads the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns and said the nearly three dozen people joining him at Monday's press conference were survivors of gun violence and family members of victims.
He called for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban "that isn't riddled with loopholes and easy evasion." The ban passed in 1994 expired ten years later and was never renewed.
"Congress should also ban the high capacity magazines that have been used again and again in these mass shootings," he said. "These weapons and ammunition can be used to kill large numbers of people quickly and regulating them certainly falls within the bounds of the second amendment."
Officials said the gunman in the school shooting used a semi-automatic weapon and went through several 30-round magazines.
Bloomberg called for Congress to pass the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would further incentivize states to require background checks before gun purchases, require colleges to institute a mental health assessment plan for their students, and strengthens certain requirements of the Brady gun control act.
Its primary sponsors include Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, both of New York. Her husband was among six people killed in a 1993 mass shooting.
He also called for a federal measure to outlaw gun trafficking. "This legislative package would make it harder for criminals, drug abusers, minors, and the mentally ill to get guns and harder for them to inflict the level of carnage we saw this week," Bloomberg said.
To not act, he said, would be a "stain upon our nation's commitment to protecting the innocent including our children."
President Barack Obama said at a vigil for the victims and families Sunday night that he would use "whatever power this office holds ... in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," and hours after the shooting called for "meaningful action" on the issue. Obama was elected on a platform which included reinstating the assault weapon ban but has since put his weight behind other legislative priorities.
While waiting for action on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg urged Obama to act immediately by increasing prosecution, such as of gun purchasers who falsify background check documents, as well as streamline background check bureaucracy and advance a permanent -- rather than interim-- director of the firearms bureau.
The mayor did not say when asked if he would put his personal fortune behind his efforts but said he would "do what I think is appropriate" on the issue.
"I think it should be illegal to have a weapon whose only purpose is to kill large numbers of people. I think it should be illegal to sell bullets whose only purpose is to pierce armored vests," Bloomberg said at the press conference. "The last time I saw a deer wearing an armored vest was a long time ago. Those bullets are designed to kill police officers -- that's all they're designed for. That should be illegal."
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