WASHINGTON -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the nation's most vocal proponents of increased gun control, continued his push on Monday for stricter regulations in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings that killed 26 people on Friday.
"If this moment passes into memory without action from Washington, it will be a stain upon our nation of protecting the innocent, including our children," he said at a press conference in New York, joined by 34 people who have been affected by gun violence.
The mayor announced a new website, Demand A Plan, which highlights the stories of some of those at the press conference in videos calling for gun control action. The videos will be delivered to all members of Congress in the next session, he said.
Bloomberg is the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of more than 700 mayors who advocate for stricter gun control. He put out a statement Friday afternoon calling for President Barack Obama to take "immediate action" for legislation on the issue.
He said at the press conference that he has not spoken to Obama since the shootings.
Bloomberg challenged on Sunday the idea that gun control was impossible given the power of the National Rifle Association, or the NRA. He said on Monday that both Republicans and Democrats have failed to act because of the gun lobby's pressure.
"I don't see any profiles in courage on the other side of the aisle," he said, referring to Democrats. "This is not a partisan issue, this is just a bunch of people who I think are cowed by the NRA," he added later.
Obama has hinted at action on gun control, but has not yet come out explicitly in favor of it. In the Senate, there have been more concrete promises for action, although not from leadership. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D- Calif.) said Sunday she will introduce a bill to ban assault weapons on the first day of the new Congress.
Since the shooting in Newtown killed young children, it may be more likely to spur action, Bloomberg said.
"I think it is true when you see 6- and 7-years-olds as the victim, somehow or other it goes to your heart a little more," he said. "It's more of a 'My god, what kind of a society do we have?' But don't think that all of the other assassinations, all of the other tragedies, all of the other massacres, or the individual shootings every day across the country, don't think that those are any less of a tragedy. Those are human beings, too."
After his call for gun control, Bloomberg responded to New York Times columnist David Brooks, who said Sunday that the mayor's position as the face of the pro-gun control movement could be "counterproductive" because he is not from a red state.
"I'm an American. I'm a human being, so I certainly have standing to say what I think," Bloomberg said.
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