Michael Bloomberg backs a bill to ban online ammo sales

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McCarthy and Lautenberg. (via Carolyn McCarthy)
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A bill sponsored by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg and Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy that would effectively ban the online sale of ammunition has the backing of the nation's loudest gun control advocate, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“If the presidential candidates won't act, others will—including Senator Lautenberg and Congresswoman McCarthy, who time and again have shown their steadfast commitment to protecting American lives," said the mayor, in a statement.

The bill in question, called the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, would, among other things, effectively ban the sale of ammunition online unless the buyer is a licensed dealer; require dealers to maintain sales records; and require dealers to report sales of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition within five consecutive business days.

Accused Aurora killer James Holmes purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the internet in the months leading up to the shooting in the Colorado movie theater.

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"The shooter was able to amass an arsenal of ammunition online," said Lautenberg today. "Online. Like you might order shoes or food or what have you."

In recent weeks, Bloomberg has seized upon the Aurora shootings as evidence that the nation's gun control laws are unconscionably ineffective.

The co-founder and funder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Bloomberg's organization has campaigned for gun control measures and supported candidates whose votes accord with its legislative goals. Once he leaves office in 2014, he's expected to lavish yet more time and money on the cause.

Last week, it was announced that Bloomberg was planning to hold a fund-raiser for Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts in August.

Brown ran for Senate with the National Rifle Associaton's backing, and he opposes a national assault rifle ban, even as both his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, and Bloomberg support one.

Bloomberg explained his position by saying that, though Brown is "not good on guns generally," the senator cast a brave vote against an N.R.A.-backed measure that would have required states to recognized concealed-carry permits issues in other states.

The online ammunition ban is likely to garner support from some liberal Democrats in Congress and then go nowhere.