New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, surrounded by 34 shooting survivors and victims’ relatives, announced the “demand a plan” to end gun violence campaign Monday at a press conference.
“This is an outrage. We are killing each other. And we are the only industrialized country doing it,” Bloomberg said, speaking of the latest mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition led by Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, released a set of 34 “very brief and very powerful” videos that bear testimony to the trauma produced by gun violence, Bloomberg said today. The videos—created by friends and families of gun violence victims, and by survivors themselves—all end with a similar plea:
Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns. That’s 48,000 Americans murdered with guns during the next presidency. I need to know what our leaders are going to do to stop the gun violence. I demand a plan, and so should you.
Bloomberg outlined three major pieces of legislation that Congress and the White House should enact immediately:
- The Fix Gun Checks Act, a bill that would ensure all individuals who should be banned from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system. The bill would also require a background check for every firearm sale. As it stands now, 40% of gun sales go through without a background check, the mayor said.
- An enforceable assault weapons ban. The previous ban expired in 2004 and was never reinstated. Bloomberg also demanded Congress ban high capacity magazines like the one used in Friday’s mass shooting.
- The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act, which would make gun trafficking a felony.
Bloomberg also demanded that President Obama make a recess appointment to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which hasn’t had a confirmed director in six years, the mayor said.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Bloomberg, a long-time outspoken advocate of gun control, shot down the popular reason why Washington hasn’t yet acted: fear of the National Rifle Association’s powerful lobby. Bloomberg called the NRA’s power to destroy political careers a “myth” that’s “vastly overrated.” He reiterated that point Monday, saying that the NRA’s number one goal was to defeat Barack Obama, and “last I checked, he’s going to be re-inaugurated.”
The mayor added: “We’ve come to think that getting reelected is more important than saving lives. That political power is more important than saving lives… Enough.”
When prompted about the removal of the NRA’s Facebook page following the Newtown tragedy, Bloomberg quipped: “I don’t go there very often. Like, zero.”