Mayor Michael Bloomberg today released his final report as co-chair of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, and said he hoped Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio would take the mantle after he leaves office at the end of the month.
In recent years, the mayor has released numerous reports outlining sometimes extensive investigations performed by the group. The latest focuses on what Mr. Bloomberg labeled a deadly loophole that allows non-business entities to sell guns without background checks.
According to the new report, one website, Armslist.com, is being utilized by high-volume private sellers to transfer tens of thousands of guns online with no background checks. “It seems to clearly be a place where criminals flock, were sellers who want to evade the law flock, and where there’s a marketplace of illegal activity,” the city’s chief policy advisor, John Feinblatt, alleged.
With just three weeks left in office, Mr. Bloomberg is soon to close his tenure as co-chair of MAIG, which has benefited from Mr. Bloomberg’s vast personal fortune and national profile. But Mr. Bloomberg vowed today that he would continue to press for “common-sense” gun measures, including eliminating various loopholes and forcing more extensive background checks.
“This is the last report that Mayors Against Illegal Guns is issuing during our tenure as mayor. Rest assured that our work to pass sensible gun laws that keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, and end the epidemic of gun violence in our nation, will go on. We will keep fighting. Maybe we’ll keep fighting even harder,” he said.
“You can be rest assured I will devote extensive resources of my own and work very hard,” he said of his future relationship with the group. “This organization’s not going away.”
Mr. Bloomberg further said that, although he has not spoken to the mayor-elect on the issue, he very much expects Mr. de Blasio to continue his advocacy.
“Bill has been very much in favor of sensible gun regulations,” Mr. Bloomberg told reporters. “I would hope that he would join the mayors’ coalition, but he’s got other things on his mind at the moment. But we would certainly talk to him and I would expect him to be there. He–if you go back and look at his record–is totally in sync.”
The mayor also acknowledged the fight on gun issues has not made the progress he had hoped. Despite his relentless efforts, Mr. Bloomberg said “it’s also important to remember that nothing has changed in Washington since Newtown.” Today’s announcement came two days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Newtown massacre.
And even though Mr. Bloomberg targeted Armslist.com with a different report back in September, Mr. Feinblatt said the site is “continuing so far to do business as usual.”
Additional reporting by Colin Campbell.