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Bloomberg Calls On Washington To Strengthen Gun Laws

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg called on President Barack Obama and Congress Monday to crack down on gun violence in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting -- but it is a message New Yorkers have heard before from the mayor to little avail. NY1's Grace Rauh has the story.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not a newcomer to the fight for tougher gun control laws. He has stood with relatives of gun violence victims before to demand change from Washington.

"It's an outrage. We are killing each other," Bloomberg said with victims and the families of victims of gun violence surrounding him at a press conference Monday. "And we're the only industrialized country in the world doing it."

But this gathering -- on the heels of the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school -- felt different.

"When you see 6 and 7 year olds as the victim, somehow or other it goes to your heart a little more," Bloomberg said. "It's more of a, 'My god. What kind of a society do we have?'"

The mayor called on Congress to pass legislation that would require a criminal background check for all gun sales. He wants military-style assault weapons banned and he wants to make gun trafficking a felony.

Bloomberg said Obama needs to use the power of his office to fight gun violence.

"Being the consoler-in-chief is part of his job, but his main job is being commander-in-chief," he said.

Relatives of victims from other shootings say Washington lawmakers must act now.

"It is up to our nation's leaders," Chris Foye, father of a shooting victim, said. "Our nation's leaders have to actually take this seriously and not just talk."

"You can't allow a society to kill their children. What kind of society is that," Sandy Phillips, mother of a shooting victim, said. "That's what's happening now."

Bloomberg has never been shy about spending his own money to get his message out. But in this case, he was not willing to say how much he'd spend to take on the gun lobby.

"I am going to do what I think is appropriate and try to impact the dialogue and shame on me if I don't," he said.

In Washington, meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave no indication that Obama is ready to move quickly to tighten gun laws.

"This is a complex issue that requires complex solutions," Carney said. "He looks forward to engaging the American people in an effort to do more."

It will take more than that, though, to appease gun control advocates like Mayor Bloomberg.

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