An op-ed in today's USA Today lays out New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ideas for gun control reform, just as President Obama announces his own plan to put together a task force to send proposals to Congress in January.
Mayor Bloomberg — who has been making the media rounds in the last few days, obviously trying to posture himself in the center of the gun control debate — lays out six major reforms he believes President Obama should push.
First, Bloomberg backs a renewed assault weapon ban, as well as a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.
Banning these weapons and ammunition does not mean there will never be another mass shooting. But these weapons were designed for mass killing, not hunting or self-defense. They do not belong in our communities.
The task force Obama announced earlier today will likely suggest this as well.
Bloomberg also suggests fixing the nation's background check system. This point has not been brought up very much, but, as Bloomberg points out, "nearly half of all gun sales in the U.S. are conducted without a background check." There are plenty of loopholes for people who aren't allowed to buy or own guns.
Bloomberg also reprimands Congress for failing to appoint a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives head for the past six years. In his news conference, President Obama addresses as a problem Congress should fix, but Bloomberg has a different idea: suggesting Obama make a recess appointment, which would not be subject to Congressional approval, after Congress breaks for the holidays.
The last suggestions Bloomberg makes all involve tweaks to the criminal justice system: making gun trafficking a felony, and asking the Justice Department to prosecute more people caught illegally buying guns, as well as the dealers who sell them illegally.
It will be interesting to see what the Joe Biden-led task force comes up with, but these six suggestions look to be a pretty comprehensive lis that would not encroach on responsible gun owners' rights in any way.