James E. Holmes walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, last week carrying with him a semi-automatic assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol. Over the last few months, he spent thousands of dollars on ammunition.
Nobody noticed. And now 12 innocent people are dead, scores wounded and hundreds of lives scarred by a madman’s easy access to guns and ammunition.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most passionate advocates of common-sense gun regulation, gave voice to the outrage so many of us felt when we learned of the massacre in Colorado. The mayor told anyone who would listen that it is long past time to close the loopholes in gun laws so that when maniacs like James Holmes try to buy weapons of mass destruction—and how else to describe an assault rifle?—alarm bells go off.
Mr. Bloomberg had it exactly right when he said that President Obama and Mitt Romney need to tell us in very specific terms what they plan to do to prevent guns from getting into the hands of the likes of James Holmes and Seung-Hoi Cho, who killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech in 2007, or Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and wounded a dozen others, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, last year in Arizona.
Neither candidate has responded to the mayor’s call. That is more than disappointing; it is a disgrace. Both candidates claim that they are ready and able to make tough decisions, but both seem determined to find a politically palatable response to the plague of gun violence.
That is certainly not true of Long Island Congressman Peter King, who supports a federal ban on assault weapons. Many of Mr. King’s fellow Republicans would rather vote for a tax hike than suggest that assault weapons ought to be kept out of the hands of civilians. Mr. King, however, continues in a terribly lonely struggle for this common-sense measure.
Meanwhile, as New Yorkers took the lead in demanding a rational discussion of gun-control policy, four-year-old Lloyd Morgan of the Bronx became another casualty, another statistic, another victim of gun violence. The toddler was in a playground near his home when two men opened fire nearby. The boy was struck and killed.
This is not a tragedy. This is a scandal. Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. King and all New York politicians need to keep voicing their outrage and demanding that national leaders start explaining themselves.