NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Outspoken gun control advocate Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday weighed in on the U.S. Senate vote allowing a measure on gun law reforms to clear its first hurdle.
Bloomberg, speaking in Brooklyn, had high praise for the deal that’s bringing background checks for gun sales toward a vote.
“Given the political reality, it is amazing that we are as far along. Now keep in mind, it is not done yet and you still have the House to get through,” a cautiously optimistic Bloomberg told reporters including WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb.
The mayor said the fact that the question of background checks for gun buyers passed a procedural vote Thursday is a big victory over the National Rifle Association.
“Background checks is the one thing they really fear,” said Bloomberg. “The NRA’s real thing was to stop anything and once we have some sensible gun laws and once elected officials understand they don’t have to kowtow to the NRA, that the public has a voice here and the public wants to be heard and the public’s going to vote.”
The compromise measure under consideration does not include provisions for re-implementing the federal assault weapons ban and does not address high-capacity magazines.
“If you only got – and I hope we get more than just the background check – but if that’s what you got, it would be an enormous improvement in the safety for you and your children and your friends,” said the mayor.
Bloomberg added the public’s voices is being heard on this highly controversial issue.
“When you poll people, 80 or 90 percent, nobody wants people with psychiatric problems or criminal records to buy guns and that’s all background checks will do,” Bloomberg said.
A deal on a bipartisan gun control measure was announced Wednesday by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), both gun owners. The compromise measure would require federal background checks for purchases online and at gun shows. It would also strengthen existing laws against illegal gun trafficking.
Bloomberg said he’d be honored it either conservative senator asked him for help in the future.
“Make no mistake about it, I will support that guy. I don’t know if it’s going to help him, but I respect Pat Toomey for standing up and doing what’s right,” Bloomberg said.
The push for gun control reforms was reinvigorated following the massacre of 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14. Families of the victims have lobbied state and federal lawmakers for what they call common-sense reforms.
Mayor Bloomberg is the co-chair of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
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