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
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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