Bloomberg Goes To Washington To Keep Momentum Going In Gun Control Battle
Trying to keep the momentum going in the battle for more gun control, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Washington D.C. Friday, where he addressed the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Washington D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups filed the following report.
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WASHINGTON - It's been one of the most eventful weeks in gun control advocacy.
On Wednesday, the president unveiled his sweeping plan to reduce gun violence. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, hope to seize on the momentum, and are ramping up the pressure on Congress.
"Here in Washington, for far too long, elected officials have been watching people break the law and have said absolutely nothing," Bloomberg said.
While in Washington D.C. for the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, Bloomberg was shoring up support for his anti-gun agenda, holding back-to-back meetings with prominent mayors from across the country, who celebrated his advocacy work.
"We mayors grapple with gun violence every day," said Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia. "We know that Mayor Bloomberg is on the right side of this issue."
Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, more than 100 mayors have joined the coalition, which has now swelled to more than 800 members.
Bloomberg said it's clear that there is a disconnect between their jobs as elected officials and those of Washington lawmakers.
"Congress is more removed from this issue than mayors are," Bloomberg said. "Congresspeople don't get called in the middle of the night when a police officer has been shot. Mayors do."
Bloomberg urged his fellow mayors to use their influence with their congressional members, just like the gun lobby does.
"The NRA says, 'You don't support us? We're going to make you lose your job. We're going to support your opponent,'" Bloomberg said. "Well, we can do exactly the same thing."
Bloomberg insisted that the NRA's influence is overblown.
"The NRA said their number one priority for 2012 was to defeat Barack Obama," he said. "Any of you that want to stay for Monday here in Washington, I think you'll find they weren't terribly successful at doing that."
Bloomberg said he's encouraged by the president's proposal. Listing universal background checks for all gun sales, adding mental health records to the background check database, and the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips are some of their priority measures.