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“This is an outrage,” Bloomberg said, referring to the disproportionately high number of gun deaths in the U.S. compared to other developed nations. “We are killing each other, and we are the only industrialized nation doing it.”
Bloomberg is the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 700 U.S. mayors advocating against gun violence.
He said the coalition was calling for Congress to require a criminal background check for all gun sales, closing what he said was an “enormous” loophole whereby private gun sales – whether online or at gun shows – do not require such checks.
He also called for Congress to ban “military-style” assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to pass laws making gun trafficking a felony.
“It’s not a panacea,” he said of these measures, “it wouldn’t get rid of all the guns on the streets, but it would go a long way towards limiting them and limiting the number of people killed.”
Bloomberg also urged the president to fill the six-year-old vacancy at the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been run by a series of acting directors since 2006.
He also criticized the U.S. Department of Justice for not prosecuting people who fail background checks due to fraudulent applications. In 2009, the department prosecuted only 77 out of the more than 71,000 such cases uncovered by the FBI, Bloomberg said.
Neither the ATF nor the Justice Department immediately responded to a request for comment on the mayor’s assertions.