Bloomberg: Gun control should be Obama’s ‘number one agenda’

December 16, 2012

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) said Sunday that gun control should be President Obama's "number one agenda," in the wake of Friday's deadly mass shooting at a Connecticut school. 

"It's time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do -- not go to Congress and say, 'What do you guys want to do?'" Bloomberg said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "This should be his number one agenda. He's president of the United States. And if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns."

Bloomberg, an outspoken gun control advocate who launched a super PAC earlier this year that supported candidates who had advocated for gun control, said he believes Obama could successfully spearhead legislation in Congress. 

"Nobody questions the Second Amendment's right to bear arms.  But we don't think the founding fathers had the idea that every man, woman and child could carry an assault weapon.  And I think the president, through his leadership, could get a bill like that through Congress. But at least he's got to try. That's his job," Bloomberg said."

Reacting on Friday to the deadly Connecticut shooting in which a gunman used as semiautomatic weapon to kill 20 children and six adults at a school, Obama called for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this," but did not get into specifics

Bloomberg offered policy recommendations for the president on Sunday, including enforcing existing laws more aggressively. 

"There's a number of things that the president can do and a number of things that Congress can do," he said. "And there're a number of things that you and I can do as voters. What the president can do is number one, through executive action, he can order his agencies to to enforce the laws more aggressively."

Bloomberg continued: "I think there's something like 77,000 -- people who've been accused of lying when they applied for a gun permit.  We've only prosecuted 77 of them. The president can introduce legislation -- even if it doesn't get passed.  The president campaigned back -- in 2008 -- on a bill that would -- prohibit assault weapons.  We've got to really question whether military-style weapons with big magazines belong on the streets of America in this day and age."

"Meet The Press" Executive Producer Betsy Fischer Martin tweeted Sunday morning that the show reached out to gun-rights advocates in the Senate, but none were willing to appear on the program. 

We "reached out to ALL 31 pro-gun rights Sens in the new Congress to invite them to share their views on @meetthepress - NO takers," she tweeted. 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan · December 16, 2012