12:07 pm Jan. 7, 2013
At the behest of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden has been developing a national gun control plan, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg is advising him, he confirmed this morning.
"We sent some of our people down to Washington and we had some people on the phone to give Joe Biden our ideas," said Bloomberg, during the question-and-answer portion of a press conference about education.
This weekend, the Washington Post reported that, "White House aides have...been in regular contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), an outspoken gun-control advocate who could emerge as a powerful surrogate for the Obama administration’s agenda."
Bloomberg co-founded and funds Mayors Against Illegal Guns and, by dint of his outspoken support of tighter gun controls in the wake of every major gun massacre, he has become the face of the modern-day gun control movement in the United States.
During the presidential election, he repeatedly castigated both candidates for failing to come to grips with the nation's proliferation of deadly weapons, and he founded a super PAC to support candidates nationally who agree with him on issues like gun control.
Following the Sandy Hook massacre, he excoriated politicians, including the president, for offering little more than sympathy.
Now that they are indeed promising to offer more, Bloomberg has some ideas for them.
He wants criminal background checks on all gun sales, including private and gun show sales.
He wants to limit "deadly military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines," and he thinks gun trafficking should be made a felony.
Assuming House Republicans aren't willing to play ball (a fair assumption), Bloomberg outlined the steps he'd like to see Obama take that don't require Congressional approval.
Namely, Obama could make a recess appointment of a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which hasn't had one in six years.
"An agency without a leader just can't be effective," said Bloomberg.
He'd also like to see Obama direct the Justice Department to step up its prosecutions of people who lie on their background checks; and he wants Obama to order all federal agencies to send background data to the national background check database.
"I think what we've got to do first is try to do everything we can to help Joe Biden," he said.
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