During an energetic Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Mayor Bloomberg reiterated his call for President Obama to take immediate action on gun control in response to Friday's mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut:
It's time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do — not go to Congress and say, "What do you guys want to do?" This should be his number one agenda. He’s president of the United States. And if he does nothing during his second term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns. That's is roughly the number of Americans killed in the whole Vietnam war.
When asked what exactly Obama should do, Bloomberg had a list all ready. First, sign an executive order instructing federal agencies to better enforce existing gun laws. "There’s something like 77,000 people who’ve been accused of lying when they applied for a gun permit," Bloomberg pointed out. "We’ve only prosecuted 77 of them." Second,Obama should follow through on his 2008 campaign promise to bring back a federal assault weapons ban. Bloomberg said he believes that the president "could get a bill like that through Congress." And even if he can't? "But at least he’s got to try," Bloomberg said. "That’s his job."
The mayor also dismissed the idea of the all-powerful National Rifle Association, whose extremely aggressive lobbying is often cited as the reason lawmakers have stopped pursuing gun control: "There is this myth that the NRA is so powerful. The NRA's power is so vastly overrated." That might end up being true, if Bloomberg decides to give Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group he co-founded, the kind of serious financial backing it needs to go head-to-head with the NRA. After all, the group's $2 million-or-so annual lobbying budget doesn't look like much when you compare it to Bloomberg's $25 billion fortune.