A coalition of mayors led by New York City's Michael Bloomberg ripped into the Obama administration Friday, accusing White House spokesman Jay Carney of "parroting NRA talking points" in its response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
"Jay Carney pops behind the White House podium and says now is not the time," said Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal guns, a coalition of 750 mayors from across the country.
"I wondered whether Carney realized how precisely he was parroting NRA talking points. Every time there is a mass shooting, they say now is not the time — and the moment of silence stretches on for months and years."
Meanwhile, in a statement released through the coalition, Bloomberg responded directly to the president's promise for "meaningful action."
"Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough," read Bloomberg's statement. "We need immediate action."
Glaze said the "top federal priority" of the mayors coalition would be a push for the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011, a bill first introduced in the House last May following the Tucson shooting in which former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was nearly killed.
"The bill would do two things," said Glaze. "Everybody who buys a gun in this country would have to do a background check, and it would restore the missing millions of records to those background check databases."
Because most guns are purchased online or at gun shows, said Glaze, 40 to 50 percent of people who buy guns don't receive background checks, and many who do aren't properly listed in the background check system. "States are not effectively reporting mental health and drug abuse records in databases," he said.
Asked about reintroducing an assault weapons ban — which, Carney said, remains a "commitment" of Obama's administration — Glaze said the coalition of mayors does not take a position on the policy.
"A lot of our mayors support it, but some don't. The problem is not going to get solved until we fix the background checks," he said. But Bloomberg, who founded the coalition in 2006 with a starting group of 15 mayors, does personally support the assault weapons ban.
"The politics of the issue are so imminently fixable," added Glaze. "There is overwhelming agreement, including among NRA members, that everyone should get a background check."
Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ruby Cramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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