By Tom McCarthy, The Guardian
Calling for immediate action to stop America’s string of mass shootings, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg gathered dozens of family members of victims of fatal gun violence to stand behind him at a Monday news conference.
“If you think there’s a lot of people here, that’s because there’s an awful lot of gun violence in this country,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor said he intended to pressure President Barack Obama and congress for new legislation, now, to get gun violence under control.
“The president and congress can and should address [gun control] at the same time they’re reaching an agreement on avoiding the fiscal cliff,” Bloomberg said. “These things have nothing to do with each other. And if congress and the president can’t focus on two things at once, who on earth did we elect?”
As part of his visible new push on gun control, Bloomberg presented a set of 34 video statements by people who have lost loved ones to gun violence. The message of each video, the mayor said, was the same: “I demand a plan. The time for talk is over. Congress and the White House has to come up with something to stop this carnage… Enough.”
The videos are viewable at DemandAPlan.org. One features Tracy Lane, the mother of a student killed in the April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech:
Bloomberg said that copies of all the videos would be sent to every member of the incoming 113th congress.
Referring to the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday, Bloomberg said “if this moment passes into memory without action from Washington, it will be a stain” on the country.
Bloomberg calls for three specific actions by congress: 1) pass the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would close the private-sale loophole that allows more than 40% of gun sales to go through without a background check; 2) pass an enforceable and effective assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines; and 3) make gun trafficking a felony.
“Last night the president said he would use whatever power his office holds to address this violence, and I think it’s critical that he do so,” Bloomberg said. “We need immediate action… It should be at the top of their agenda.”
Watch the activist video, broadcast during Bloomberg’s press conference, uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 17.