One of the most vocal responses to the Aurora, Colorado shooting has come from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On Monday’s Piers Morgan Tonight, Bloomberg spoke out in favor of tougher gun laws.
“I don’t understand why the police officers in this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike,” Bloomberg said. He said that police should say, “We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”
As the interview continued, Bloomberg elaborated on what he would like to see from gun control laws. Although he supports the Second Amendment and believes that people should be able to own guns, he’s in favor of preventing gun owners from buying advanced weapons technology such as armor piercing bullets designed to penetrate through bulletproof vests. He made the important point that the only people who wear bulletproof vests in this country are members of the police force, raising the question of why such bullets are commercially available.
This is far from the first time that Bloomberg has spoken out for gun control; he has been a proponent of tougher gun laws for years. In 2006, Bloomberg teamed up with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino to host a summit for 15 mayors across the country to brainstorm ways to keep illegal firearms out of their cities. That initial summit has grown into Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which now has a bipartisan membership of over 600 mayors from roughly 40 states.
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition has been instrumental to the creation and passage of gun control legislation, as has Bloomberg himself. In early 2011, Mayor Bloomberg was one of the major players behind the Fix Gun Checks campaign. Bloomberg worked with Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) to craft legislation that would add the names of those who were prohibited from buying guns to the national background check system and require background checks for all those hoping to purchase guns. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition then led a campaign to support this bill.
In July 2011, Bloomberg and Menino co-authored a letter to Congress urging the repeal of the so-called “Tiahrt Amendments,” which severely limited Congressional oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). These restrictions made the Congressional investigation of the ATF’s controversial “Operation Fast and Furious” nearly impossible.
Other Mayors Against Illegal Guns actions include a movement to close the “Terror Gap,” a legal loophole which currently prevents people whose names are on terrorist watch lists from buying plane tickets but not guns. This Feburary, Bloomberg and Menino appeared together in a Super Bowl ad advocating for tougher gun control laws.