WASHINGTON — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed pro-gun advocates while encouraging America’s other mayors to pressure Congress to pass President Barack Obama’s gun-control proposals, during a lunch gathering of the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday.
“Most people I know don’t even have a gun,” Bloomberg said, claiming America is “the only industrialized country in the world” that has a gun “problem” where there are more guns than people.
Bloomberg spoke highly of the proposals Obama laid out Wednesday and called the current enforcement of gun laws a “tragic joke.”
“This is not a Constitutional question, but it is a political courage question and it is an issue for Washington — we can’t do it alone,” Bloomberg said.
“This week President Obama and Vice President Biden did step up and put forward a comprehensive plan for attacking gun violence, and I give them both a lot of credit for listening to the voices of everyday Americans and putting public safety ahead of special interests.”
Bloomberg said his Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization was in close communication with Biden and helped develop the slate of goals Obama announced Wednesday.
“We were encouraged to see it include virtually everyone of the major elements we sought, but as the president himself has said, the most important parts of his plan require action from Congress.”
Bloomberg said mayors must push Congress to pass the president’s proposals, and encouraged them to join his coalition.
Like the National Rifle Association, he said, Mayors Against Illegal Guns will “stand up” for those legislators who support gun control and support candidates challenging legislators who do not.
More gun control measures will mean less crime and fewer suicides, Bloomberg claimed, saying that in the absence of congressional action, 48,000 more Americans will be murdered with guns during President Obama’s next term.
New Yorkers, he added, can expect to live three years longer than the U.S. average and one significant reason is the city’s gun restrictions.
Citing MSNBC host Joe Scarborough as an example, Bloomberg noted that Americans’ views on guns are evolving and many supporters of gun rights view some gun-control measures as reasonable.
“The public in this country has changed their views when you see Joe Scarborough on ‘Morning Joe’ —a big gun advocate — all of a sudden come out and say, ‘You know, enough is enough.’ That tells you something,” Bloomberg said. “I think the public is ready for a change.”
And recalling NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre’s claim that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Bloomberg said ammunition that can penetrate bullet-proof vests is only sold to kill police officers — good guys with guns.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns has over 800 members.
“We need every mayor to go to their congressman and their congresswoman and their senators and say, ‘We’ve got a problem in our city and you are the one that is responsible if that problem continues,’” he said.