By Justin Sink
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the National Rife Association (NRA) deserves some of the blame for last week's massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
"We're not trying to take away your right to advance the interests of gun owners, hunters, people who want to protect themselves," Bloomberg told ABC News in an interview set to air Friday. "But that's not an absolute right to encourage behavior which causes things like Connecticut. In fact, Connecticut is because of some of their actions."
The pro-gun lobby was silent in the aftermath of the shooting, disabling a Facebook page run by the organization and refusing to reply to press inquiries. On Tuesday, the group issued a statement saying they were "shocked, saddened, and heartbroken" by the shooting and "prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again."
On Wednesday, President Obama told reporters that he hoped the group would "do some self-reflection."
"The NRA is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers," Obama said. "And I would expect that they’ve been impacted by this as well."
Bloomberg, who has been a vocal supporter of additional gun restrictions, said he also believed the public — including himself — were partially to blame for the tragedy.
"I hold you and me responsible," Bloomberg said. "We didn't pay attention to what our legislators were doing, [the NRA] as well ... we have let our society degenerate — our country degenerate to the point where we have a murder rate that you cannot compare it to other countries."
Bloomberg offered praise for Obama's new task force on gun violence, but said in his first term, the president had "gone in the wrong direction" on guns.
"[President Obama] signed two pieces of legislation, one which lets you carry guns in national parks where our kids play," Bloomberg said. "And the other one, he signed a bill so that you can carry a gun on Amtrak. I assume that's to stop the rash of train robberies, which I thought stopped in the 1800s."