NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on 'Epidemic of Gun Violence'

Mayors Against Illegal Guns calls for action in response to the Connecticut shooting.
16:03 | 12/17/12

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Transcript for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on 'Epidemic of Gun Violence'
Good afternoon. Joining me here today. Our people from across the nation -- -- that survive gun violence including recent mass shootings. Or have lost family members to gun violence. And if you think there's a lot of people here that is because there's an awful lot of gun violence in our country. Since last Friday's tragedy in Connecticut dozens -- grieving parents -- parents. And in higher deeply wounded community now know the kind of anguish that these people with -- -- endured a what happened in Newtown was an unspeakable crime and mass murder in which six and seven year old children -- gunned down in their classrooms. Along with their elementary school teachers and administrators. And all of those who lost loved ones our hearts are broken and our prayers certainly are with you. Last night the president said he would use what ever powers -- office holds to address this violence. And I think it is critical that he do so words alone cannot heal our nation on the action can do that. Gun violence is a national epidemic on national tragedy the demands more than words we are the only industrialized country that has this problem. In the whole world the only one. And that's why we need immediate national action from the president and from congress it should be at the top of their agenda. Because what happened at sandy hook elementary school was sadly no aberration. Gun violence takes the lives of 34. Americans every single day. That means that during president Obama's next four year term. Some 48000. Americans will be killed with guns that's roughly the number of Americans that died in the Vietnam War. And since. 1968. -- RFK. And Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated. Roughly four. 100000. Americans have been killed with guns which is more Americans than died in World War II. They will be leave behind mothers and fathers sisters and Brothers friends and neighbors like those with us today. Whose lives are devastated by lost. -- the president spoke out visibly on gun violence after the mass shooting in Tucson two years ago yet since those shootings happened more than 24. That's right -- -- -- 24100. More Americans have been murdered in guns finally done something -- and group. Vast number of those would be alive today and their families wouldn't have been torn asunder. If the massacre in Tucson wasn't enough to make our national leaders act. And -- the more recent bloodshed in Aurora Colorado in -- -- with Wisconsin and Portland -- -- and other cities and towns Muslim enough. Perhaps the slaughter of innocents and sandy hook elementary school will at long last be enough. Millions of Americans hope that's true. But it's not enough for us to hope we have to speak up. We have made our voices heard and hold Washington accountable for final for facing up to the epidemic of gun violence -- our country. If this moment passes into memory without action from Washington. It will be a stain upon our national our nation's commitment. To protecting the innocent including our children. Today mayors against illegal guns a bipartisan coalition of more than 700 mayors from cities and towns across America. Is releasing a set of 34 very powerful and very personal brief video statements. And we'll see four of them in just a few minutes -- these videos I think bear testimony to the sorrow and trauma produced by gun violence in our nation. Many of these with Clinton of those with us today have made these video statements in each video of those bearing witness have the same message. High demand a plan. This time for talk is over. Congress and the White House has to come up with something that stops this carnage no matter what the political ramifications are some are other. We've come to think for getting reelected is more important than saving lives that political. Power is more important than saving lives that partisan politics is more important than saving lives enough. These videos these video statements which are available online and demand the planned dot org. Will be delivered to all of the members of the 113 US congress when it convenes next month then as now. Mayors against illegal guns will ask congress and the White House to take common -- sense steps to reduce gun violence. There are three major pieces of legislation -- the president should push congress to pass. And let me point out that one of the few acts related to firearms that congress has passed in recent years. Was to immunize. Firearms manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits. Brought by those injured with guns if they can do that what -- outrage of they can do that they can do what we're proposing now. Think about that rather than trying to solve the problem they deliberately pass that piece of legislation to make it worse I don't know whether there's any other industry that has received congressional immunity. From. And lawsuits brought by those injured when their products. First congress should pass the six gun checks act. Which would close the private sale loophole that allows more than 40%. Of gun sales to go through without a background check. It requires every gun buyer to pass a background check the majority of gun sales already go through the background check system. And it's need -- -- -- nor intrusive. Nor does -- infringe on anyone's rights this bill would also require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on felons domestic abusers. The seriously mentally ill and other dangerous people to the national instant criminal background check system in fact the president. With a simple stroke of his -- Not needing approval from anybody else could ensure the federal government's compliance with this provision. Congress did what they always do. They pass a law and then they don't enforce it. They don't vote the money to enforce it and they don't let -- The president appoint somebody to do the enforcement. Second it is time to pass an enforceable and effective assault weapons ban. And one that isn't riddled with loopholes. And -- -- -- previous man expired in 2004. And even though President Bush supported reinstating it. Congress never acted. That must change congress should also -- high capacity magazines that have been used again and again in these mass shootings these weapons and and -- -- ammunition can be used to kill large numbers of people quickly and regulating them certainly falls within the bounds of the Second Amendment. And third the president and congress should work together to make gun trafficking a felony. As senator Kirsten Gillibrand congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and others have proposed. This legislative package would make it harder for criminals drug abuse is mine is -- mentally able to get guns. And harder for them to inflict the level of car -- -- that we saw this week. It's not a panacea it wouldn't get rid of all the guns on the streets. But it would go a long ways towards -- them and limiting the number of people killed and it would make it easier for our police and prosecutors to lock up those who supplied illegal guns to criminals and the mentally ill. We hear urge the president to include all three of these steps in any legislative package he sends to congress. And we urge him to assemble a legislative package quickly. So that gun violence can be the first order of business when a new congress. Takes up when it that that the new congress takes up when it convenes. In January think the millions of Americans who have been affected by gun violence including the individuals standing with mandate. Deserve nothing less the president and congress can and should address these measures at the same time there reaching an agreement on avoiding the fiscal cliff. These things have nothing to do with each other and congress and the president can focus on two things at once who on earth did we elect -- At the same time. These are steps -- the president can there are steps that the president can take on his own right now to address gun violence in addition to ordering all federal agencies. To send data to the crime database. And -- should be no delay I've already mentioned the federal compliance and criminal background check system. There are three others first the president should make the confirmation of a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms -- higher priority. Than it's been so far. It has been six years. Since the ATF has had a confirmed director can you imagine the outrage of the Department of Homeland Security went six years without a confirmed director he would never happen. Because it would be -- public safety threat -- Americans would never tolerate it well let me tell you leaving the ATF without a director is also. -- public safety event. You would think that the president could demand could cajole should convince congress that we should shame congress. Into approving somebody who can enforce the very laws that congress passed. And that's why today I urge the president to make a recess appointment to fill a vacancy at the top of the ATF. Second the president should direct the Justice Department to step up its prosecution of gun criminals who try to buy guns. In 200971000. People. Who had been convicted of gun crimes tried to buy guns by lying on their background checks. Get the federal government prosecuted only 77. Of those cases. If your -- -- -- -- I'll -- -- player that's 110 of 1%. These a gun criminals trying to buy guns illegally and the federal government is just letting them walk. And third the president should immediately lift what's known as the T art gag order. Which keeps the public in the dark about gun traffickers who they are and how they operated. In Kansas the voters rejected T -- when he ran for governor and now it's time for the president to reject his amendment. New York has some of the toughest gun laws and the country in every day the members of the NYPD put their lives on the line to enforce those laws. Those are big reasons why -- the safest big city in the nation and this year were on course record the fewest homicides in modern memory. But we're not satisfied with that even one murder is one murder too many in our city -- in any city. One murder is a tragedy -- the victims' loved ones carry with them for the rest of their lives and it's no consolation -- it's the only one. In one -- the high demand to plan videos we're releasing today in new Yorker Chris Floyd. Who was with us today talks about the death of his thirteen year old son who was killed by a stray bullet near his home in Harlem. He describes what happened as the worst pain a parent can go through. Today tragically many more parents in Connecticut are now going through that pain. So let's listen to what he and others have to tell us. My name's Chris -- I'm the father Chris I came home wins he was -- killed and problem by stray bullet. He was thirteen years old he was very intelligent -- he had a future ahead of them. The incident itself actually destroyed me in my family and as there was pain that a parent can never go through. Every day 34 Americans are murdered by guns that's 48000 Americans in the next presidential term. I want to know what our nation's leaders plan to do to stop him -- its high demand the -- and so should you share your story. Laurie has his daughter -- -- was shot and wounded on that day in 2002 when a gunman killed 32 students at Virginia tech university. Glorious -- with us here today let's hear her story. My name is Laurie -- -- on the campus of Virginia -- Reinforce 16%. -- into the food was my daughter Emily she says hi mommy finally had -- -- May have worries do you -- making good choices are they making safe choices should never just never never -- a million years kind of imagined. I'm getting the -- cool pictures. Just -- your sense. We learned more -- more about the details of what's confusing. Disgusting frankly. How was this dangerously mentally ill person had such easy access to firearms. I read in the paper the other day we've had over 2000 soldiers died in Afghanistan. And how horrible that -- and it is harmful that in that same age your times and -- we -- 6000. American citizens killed. By guns in this country something -- here. Every day 34 Americans are murdered with guns I need to know what our leaders are going to do. To stop gun violence I demand the plan. -- six years ago Stephen Moses was killed in an act of random gun violence. In this video his system many Moses who was also here tells us about her and ending sorrow. My name is Mindy. Most since and my younger Brothers Stephen Michael Moses was murdered in a random shooting outside movie theater. I'd rather listen to -- -- person he says an incredibly gifted artist. Bob it's just taken away because someone had access to handgun that never should. Have. You know it still Austin's very well end up. You know what 23 year old brother come watching in the door but can call and slots. Every day and senator -- in 1986. Every day 34 Americans are murdered with -- that's 48000. Americans murdered with guns during the next presidency. I need to know what our leaders aren't going to do to stop to gun violence. I demand a plan. Nineteen Jefferies -- -- -- was killed in a drive by shooting while eating pizza with friends in this video. -- -- is also here tells us her story. My name is -- -- Marines -- them up every show town's one nine people shop on March 30 2018. And this very location she was shot and he. She and -- of her friends had attended a funeral earlier that day and they were gunned down in retaliation for another young man being shot. It was one of those people -- believe. I don't do drugs. I'm not into you know a violent lifestyle ignores my daughter so. I really didn't think things like that what happened to me I didn't think we would become a statistic. A lot of people seem to think -- -- before being Laura black being Laurie inner city change any anything. Unfortunately. We're not immune to gun violence. -- and never thought that I would be burying my daughter because guns are. The wrong individuals. Every day 34 Americans are murdered -- I want to know what our leaders are going to do. To stop the gun violence I demanded playing and so -- you please share your story. Not being Mindy -- Chris someone -- thank each of you for giving us your testimony for speaking out and for joining us here today.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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