New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Martin Luther King III address the gun control issue at City Hall on Monday.
- NYC mayor asks Obama to raise the issue of gun legislation in his State of the Union speech
- Bloomberg blames lax enforcement and gun show “loopholes” for gun violence
- “Every gun sale should go through a background check,” Bloomberg says
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New York (CNN) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday joined the eldest son of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. to call for stricter gun legislation in the wake of the Arizona shootings that left six people dead and 13 wounded.
“We cannot wait any longer,” Bloomberg said, flanked by family members of 34 victims of gun violence, who he said were there to represent the daily average of Americans killed by guns. “Every gun sale should go through a background check,” he said.
The New York mayor called on President Obama to raise the issue of tighter gun legislation and enforcement during his State of the Union address Tuesday. Daniel Hernandez, the intern who assisted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in a store parking lot in Tucson, Arizona, will join first lady Michelle Obama for the speech.
“With our country still mourning the victims at Tucson, we believe it is an opportunity for our president to make a strong pledge to fix our gun laws and shore up our background check system,” Bloomberg told reporters.
During the memorial service for the victims of the January 8 shooting in Tucson, Obama said “we will not be passive in the face of such violence.”
“We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future,” the president said, raising questions about whether he would pursue stricter gun control, following a recent shift in congressional power that has many observers skeptical about the prospect of such a change.
Bloomberg blamed gun violence on lax enforcement and gun show “loopholes” that permit buyers to purchase weapons from private vendors without background checks.
Gun advocates say the law specifically exempts people who only occasionally sell guns from dealer licensing requirements, which they say cannot be considered a “loophole.”