Bloomberg Calls for Assault-Weapons Ban and Gun Age Limits

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at a gun control advocacy event in Las Vegas in February 2019. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

(CN) – Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg unveiled his plan for gun control Thursday afternoon, the billionaire’s first proposal since announcing his self-funded campaign last month, calling for a total ban on assault weapons and an age limit of 21 for most purchases.

The plan includes stronger background checks and a prohibition on sales to people until they’ve passed that check, while also closing the background-check loophole for private sales including those at gun shows. The plan would also eliminate other loopholes, such as one that allows domestic abusers who are not married to purchase guns, and require all gun buyers to get a permit before a purchase.

Bloomberg says he would reinstate the federal assault weapons ban, allocate funds for violence intervention programs in urban communities, and eliminate immunities that gun manufacturers and dealers have from civil action involving shootings.

The proposal also calls for a 48-hour waiting period for all gun purchases and an age limit of 21 for handguns, shotguns and semi-automatic rifles.

He released the plan after meetings with community leaders and victims of gun violence in Aurora, Colorado, where a gunman infamously opened fire in a movie theater in 2012, killing 12.

Bloomberg, who served as New York City’s mayor from 2002 to 2013, officially announced his bid for the Democratic nomination in late November.

During his tenure as mayor, Bloomberg co-founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of over 1,000 mayors that advocate for stronger gun control measures. Mayors Against Illegal Guns merged with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in 2014 to form Everytown for Gun Safety.

“I’ve been all in on the fight against gun violence for 15 years – and I’m just getting started,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “As president, I will work to end the gun violence epidemic once and for all. My agenda will make it harder for criminals to get guns, make families and communities more secure, and give law enforcement the tools to save lives – and, working with Congress, I will get the job done.”

Bloomberg’s plan is similar to other Democratic candidates in that he supports the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban, though his plan does not include a mandatory buy-back provision, which Senator Corey Booker supports, as did former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke before he suspended his campaign.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan, which was released in October, includes the assault-weapons ban but makes the buy-back policy an optional feature.

The National Rifle Association has not yet issued a formal response to Bloomberg’s plan, but the guns-right organization has consistently been critical of Bloomberg’s history as an advocate for gun control.

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