Bloomberg: Nothing Has Changed in Washington Since Newtown

The outgoing New York City mayor slammed Congress on Thursday for failing to tighten national gun laws.

National Journal
Marina Koren
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Marina Koren
Dec. 12, 2013, 7:30 a.m.

In his fi­nal weeks as may­or of New York City, Mi­chael Bloomberg is get­ting his last word in on loc­al le­gis­la­tion, from to­bacco sales to pub­lic Wi-Fi.

Bloomberg has a few words left for Wash­ing­ton, too. The may­or called on Con­gress to “end the na­tion­al epi­dem­ic of gun vi­ol­ence” dur­ing a Thursday press con­fer­ence, two days be­fore the one-year an­niversary the Sandy Hook shoot­ing in New­town, Conn., that claimed in­no­cent 26 lives.

“It’s im­port­ant that we re­mem­ber all those that we lost and their fam­il­ies. The an­niversary will ob­vi­ously be a very pain­ful time for them and a pain­ful time, I think, for all Amer­ic­ans,” Bloomberg said.

“It’s also im­port­ant to re­mem­ber that noth­ing in Wash­ing­ton has changed since New­town, des­pite the fact that the vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­an people fa­vor ba­sic steps that would help keep guns out of the hands of the men­tally ill, crim­in­als, and oth­er dan­ger­ous people.”

Bloomberg cited some shifts in the de­bate this year. Sev­er­al states, in­clud­ing New York and Con­necti­c­ut, closed loop­holes in their own le­gis­la­tion on back­ground checks. The first per­man­ent dir­ect­or of the Bur­eau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Fire­arms, and Ex­plos­ives in sev­en years was sworn in in spite of the gun lobby’s stalling ef­forts. And Pres­id­ent Obama gave the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion the green light to re­new re­search on gun-vi­ol­ence pre­ven­tion, “end­ing the long, shame­ful freeze on such re­search caused by pres­sure from the gun lobby and its Wash­ing­ton al­lies.” (Gun sup­port­ers ar­gued that the find­ings from that re­search con­tra­dict the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s mes­sage.)

Still, stricter fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions on back­ground checks for gun per­mits is the en­dgame, Bloomberg said. So too is a big­ger crack­down on gun sellers, many of whom deal in a grow­ing on­line mar­ket.

Bloomberg’s ten­ure may soon be over, but judging from his last words to Con­gress as may­or, law­makers won’t be see­ing the last of him on this is­sue. “We will keep fight­ing,” he said. “Maybe we’ll keep fight­ing even harder.”

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