WASHINGTON — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on President Barack Obama to make gun control legislation "his number one agenda" in the wake of the murder of 26 students and teachers in Newtown, Conn. on Friday.
"If he does nothing during his 2nd term, something like 48,000 Americans will be killed with illegal guns," Bloomberg said Sunday morning on NBC's Meet The Press. "It's time for the president to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do."
Bloomberg noted that Obama campaigned in 2008 on renewing the Assault Weapons Ban, and that he hasn't followed through on it.
"I think the president, through his leadership, could get a bill like that through Congress — but at least he has to try," Bloomberg said. The Republican-turned-Independent endorsed Obama just before the November election citing his stance on global warming.
"The president, is the one who has to lead this," Bloomberg added, discounting some Democratic concerns about a backlash to new legislation.
"This myth that the NRA can destroy political careers is just not true," Blomberg said, pointing to the pro-gun organization's failure to unseat Obama despite spending millions against him. "The NRA's power is so vastly overrated."
Bloomberg called mass shootings a uniquely American problem.
"It only happens in America — and it happens again and again," he said. "We kill people in schools, we kill them in hospitals, we kill them in religious organizations, we kill them when they are young, we kill them when they are old — and we've just got to stop this."