New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg doubled down on his call for stronger gun regulation in the aftermath of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, telling MSNBC Monday morning that both presidential candidates must explain how they will address gun violence.
“How anybody can run for the highest office in the country where 48,000 people are going to get killed in the next four years and not have a plan. Maybe they do, maybe they have a secret plan to end the war,” Bloomberg said and called for strengthening existing laws and closing loopholes:
JOHN HEILEMANN (NEW YORK MAGAZINE): If you could by fiat have one thing that the federal government could do in terms of central regulation and restriction, what would it be, if you could only do one or two things, what would it be?
BLOOMBERG: Plug the one or two loopholes in the laws they already passed and then fund the enforcement of it. We haven’t had the head of alcohol, tobacco and firearms because the president can’t get anybody through Congress. We don’t have any monies to go and enforce the laws. The states aren’t putting data into the database. There’s a gun show loophole where we require everybody to have a background check but not for casual purposes.
Both Mitt Romney and President Obama have thus far shied away from calling for greater gun regulation. Romney, who signed an assault weapons ban as Massachusetts governor in 2004, claimed in 2008 that he would have signed a federal extension of the ban, but would not support new legislative restrictions
President Obama has also backed extending the federal assault ban, but actually decreased gun controls during his administration. Obama signed a law “allowing people to carry concealed weapons in the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and other national parks and wildlife refuges and another that lets people carry guns in their checked bags on Amtrak trains.”
Following the tragedy, “White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Sunday that the Obama administration has no plans to push new gun control measures.”
But as Bloomberg put it, “people say you shouldn’t address it now because we’re in a time of crisis and mourning. Well, 18 months since Arizona and we did nothing — if not now, when are you going to do this?”