By Justin Sink - 07/22/12 03:21 PM EDT
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday that instances of violent death from guns could be dramatically reduced if the presidential candidates were willing to "stand up" and better enforce existing federal gun laws.
“We don't need more laws, we need a couple of fixes,” said Bloomberg in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
The mayor added that it was "incumbent" upon President Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney to explain what, if anything, they thought should be done to better enforce those existing laws.
Bloomberg was unwilling to ascribe motives to Obama and Romney's decisions not to discuss gun control in the shooting's aftermath, but did acknowledge the power of the gun lobby in Washington.
Bloomberg argued, a big problem was that pro-gun rights groups had pressured past administrations on both sides of the aisle into not devoting enough resources to enforce gun laws which were on the books.
“I don't know what their motives are,” Bloomberg said. “The NRA is an organization that is adamant about no controls on weapons, in spite of the fact that we have federal laws that say you cannot sell guns to minors, to people with psychiatric problems or drug problems, or convicted felons. And yet they pressure Congress and the White House, and they've been doing it for decades, to not fund enforcement of those laws.”
Bloomberg said politicians should make it clear they intend to enforce current laws.
“The Supreme Court said, yes we have a Second Amendment, you have a right to bear guns. But reasonable restrictions are constitutional. And I think the Congress passed reasonable restrictions. But to not enforce them is just ridiculous. And you've got to ask the candidates why they are unwilling to do so,” he said.
The mayor went on to contrast the issue of gun control to issues that had been dominating the political headlines in recent weeks.
"We spend all our time talking about tax returns, gaffes, things like that, this is one of a handful of issues that really matters to the American public," Bloomberg said.
The mayor also railed against those who argued high-powered and high-capacity weapons were necessary for hunting or self-defense.
"The last time I saw a deer wearing a bulletproof vest was a long time ago," Bloomberg quipped.