Although gun control advocates–including the New York Daily News editorial board–have sharply criticized the U.S. Senate for moving forward with gun legislation that mostly just focuses on expanding background checks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is just fine with it.
“I think this is not perfect but it takes you 90 percent of the way–maybe 95 percent of the way–towards more rational gun laws,” Mr. Bloomberg said during his weekly WOR radio show this morning. “And the public is overwhelmingly in favor of background checks. A couple of the editorial boards thinks it’s not enough, but the public does and I do.”
As the U.S. Congress debates gun control legislation, two of the countries’ leading advocates on the issue–Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Michael Bloomberg–held a City Hall press conference today to pressure federal lawmakers to have enough “courage” to vote in favor of the bill when it hits the floor. Standing behind victims’ family members from last year’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Mr. Biden and Mr. Bloomberg argued the measures being proposed are neither controversial or unconstitutional.
“There’s not one single thing being proposed–not one, not one , not one, not one–that infringes on anyone’s Second Amendment constitutional right. Not one,” Mr. Biden said. “Three months ago, a deranged man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a weapon of war. That’s what he walked in with–a weapon of war. That weapon of war has no place on American streets and taking it off American streets has no impact on one’s constitutional right to own a weapon.”
Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden attended a gun violence conference a few miles from the location of last year’s infamous Newtown school shooting massacre. And Mr. Biden, who has led the White House’s push for stricter policies on guns in the shooting’s wake, passionately argued that gun control is no longer the untouchable “third rail” in our political system. Indeed, Mr. Biden took his contention in the opposite direction and said politicians are now compelled to engage the issue.
“Our understanding assumption is–in American politics today–[is] that this is kind of a third rail of politics,” Mr. Biden declared. “That if you take this on, somehow there will be a severe political price to pay for doing it because that’s what happened in the past. That’s what happened in the past. People say–and you read, and people write about–the political risk and why they’re unacceptable to take on. I say it’s unacceptable to not take these on. It’s simply unacceptable.”
It’s not just Mayor Michael Bloomberg who’s offering effusive praise for President Barack Obama’s gun initiatives that the White House rolled out today. In a statement released this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo noted he accomplished his own gun control legislation earlier this week and offered words of encouragement for Mr. Obama’s own efforts.
“We have done it here in New York, and Congress should stand with the President to make our nation a safer place for all,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not satisfied with President Barack Obama’s reaction to the recent shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. Specifically, a tearful Mr. Obama called for “meaningful action” to prevent future tragedies, a vague vow that Mr. Bloomberg, who has emerged as one of the chief gun control advocates nationwide, found wholly unacceptable.
“President Obama rightly sent his heartfelt condolences to the families in Newtown. But the country needs him to send a bill to Congress to fix this problem. Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response. My deepest sympathies are with the families of all those affected, and my determination to stop this madness is stronger than ever.”
In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that, as of this writing, left at least 27 people dead including the alleged gunman and 18 children, Congressman Jerry Nadler issued an impassioned statement calling for stricter gun control legislation.
“I am absolutely horrified by news of the cold-blooded shooting of dozens of children in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children,” Mr. Nadler said. “We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress, and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”
Ray Kelly tends to stay out of politics, much to the dismay of some, but the city’s police commissioner fired a rhetorical shot at President Barack Obama while discussing gun violence with the Daily News yesterday.
“Maybe the city most affected (by guns) is Chicago,” Mr. Kelly said. “The President’s hometown. But barely a peep out of him.”
“I’m talking about political leadership, they’re not out there talking about the problem,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Inside City Hall last night, defending his department’s use of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy. “They’re not out there talking about, ‘Hey, we have a lot of young men of color shooting each other.’ You don’t hear that spoken about openly. You do hear unhappiness with the tactics and strategies that we use.”
The host, Errol Louis, interjected to argue that elected officials do indeed talk about violence, and not just problems with the NYPD, causing Mr. Kelly to retort, “Well, you’re not reporting it. They do report it when they criticize the police though, certainly on New York 1.”