New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had sharp words for President Obama and Mitt Romney in the wake of Friday’s massacre in Colorado, saying the “soothing words” from the presidential contenders are not enough.
“You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country,” Bloomberg said in an interview with WOR News Talk Radio 710 in New York City.
At least a dozen people in Colorado were killed at the premiere of the latest Batman movie early Friday morning, and another 50 were wounded. Authorities have arrested a lone gunman identified in news reports as James Holmes, 24, in the shootings in Aurora.
Bloomberg has been an outspoken supporter of gun control.
“I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day — it’s just got to stop,” he continued. “And instead of the two people — President Obama and Gov. Romney — talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place — OK, tell us how. And this is a real problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities — specifically, what are they going to do about guns?”
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters en route to an Obama campaign event in Fort Myers, Fla., that the president is cognizant of the fine line between Second Amendment rights and the need to protect citizens from those who would abuse the law.
“The president believes we need to take common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of Americans while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing laws do not get them,” Carney said. “We're making progress in that regard in terms of improving the volume and quality of information on background checks, but I have nothing additional on that for you. This is obviously a recent event."
Romney, who issued a statement condemning the shootings, is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.
“I support the Second Amendment as one of the most basic and fundamental rights of every American,” Romney told the National Rifle Association in 2007. “It's essential to our functioning as a free society, as are all the liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights.”
Bloomberg pressed the candidates to make gun control a top priority.
“It is really the leadership at a national level, which is whoever is going to be president of the United States starting next Jan. 1 — what are they going to do about guns?”
Meanwhile, the Brady Campaign, a gun control group, said in a statement that stronger measures are need to prevent future incidents.
"We don’t want sympathy. We want action," said President Dan Gross, adding that "we are insistent that our elected leaders take action to prevent future tragedies. Political cowardice is not an excuse for evasion and inaction on this life-and-death issue.”
— This story was updated at 11:57 a.m.