Bloomberg calls for stricter gun control
Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a press conference at City Hall on Monday, December 17, calling for stronger gun control laws in the wake of tragedy that shook the nation.
On December 14, Adam Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza and then murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself. The children were only six and seven years old.
Lanza, who reportedly suffered from Asperger’s, a form of autism, used automatic weapons licensed to his mother to commit the heinous crime.
“Words alone cannot heal our nation, only actions can do that,” Bloomberg said, adding that “we are the only industrialized country who has this problem” with weapons.
Bloomberg said that 34 Americans die every day from gun violence. He called upon President Obama and Congress to work together to enforce stricter laws.
“Sometimes we think getting re-elected is more important than saving lives,” Bloomberg contended.
He called for three pieces of legislation to be passed. One is to the fix the Gun Checks Act, which would close the private sale loophole by 40 percent and would require every gun buyer to pass an extensive background check that would not infringe on any liberties.
Second is to enforce an assault weapons ban. “We should also ban high capacity magazines used again and again in these mass shootings,” Bloomberg said.
Third would be to make gun trafficking a felony offense, as proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “It will make it harder for the mentally ill to get their hands on guns,” the mayor explained. “It will save lives and make it easier for police to get guns off the street.”
Bloomberg suggested that Obama also change the head of the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over the recess. When Congress re-convenes next month, four testimonials from gun violence victims on DemandAPlan.org will be sent for review.
An emotional Obama addressed the nation on December 16 during an interfaith prayer vigil for the victims, pledging to put a stop to the tragedies.
“In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine,” Obama said. “Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”
Closer to home, local officials agree that something must be done.
“In the wake of this unthinkable tragedy, it is time for a new national conversation about the role of guns in American life,” said Congressmember Nydia Velazquez. “The president was correct in his assessment that we can no longer tolerate these tragedies and in calling for swift action on this issue.”
Some officials are also working to keep streets safer.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes sponsored a gun buy-back this weekend where 134 working guns were turned in, including 80 revolvers, 31 semi-automatic pistols, 4 rifles, 3 shotguns, 1 sawed-off shotgun and 15 others, like pistols and BB guns.
“Once again, we have shown the effectiveness of innovation and creativity in law enforcement, in taking guns off the streets and making Brooklyn an even safer place to live,” said Hynes.
“New York has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. It’s the reason why we are the safest big city in the nation,” Bloomberg said. “Even one murder is one too many.”
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