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NEW YORK — Invoking the memories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday urged Congress to make sure the system for background checks on firearms purchases includes the names of everyone prohibited from buying weapons and closes loopholes that allow some sales to take place without checks.
"We cannot wait any longer," said Bloomberg, an advocate for stronger gun control who helped create Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "We cannot turn our backs on this national calamity any longer."
Bloomberg was joined at City Hall by Martin Luther King III, as well as family and friends of those injured and killed in notorious shootings in Tucson, Ariz., at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School in Colorado. There also were people affected by killings that may have never made the news, like a host of New York parents who had lost children in shootings.
Federal law prohibits certain people, like convicted felons, drug abusers and the mentally ill, from being able to purchase firearms, and since 1993, a national background check system has been in place.
But that system is far from complete, Bloomberg said, because all the required records haven't been added to it, and Congress hasn't provided all the funding needed to make sure that happens. For example, he said 10 states haven't submitted any mental health records and 18 states have put in less than 100.
In addition, he said loopholes in the law exempt some gun buyers from undergoing background checks but requires it of others. For example, customers of licensed gun dealers must undergo background checks. But they're not required of those who buy from an "occasional" seller through places such as gun shows, or in private sales.
That creates an opportunity for people who might not pass a background check to still buy weapons.
Bloomberg called Congress should take action to fix those problems. He also said President Barack Obama should speak out on the issue at his State of the Union address this week.
"With our country still mourning the victims of Tucson, we believe it is an opportunity for our president to make a strong pledge to fix our gun laws and shore up our background check system because the state of our union includes the tragic reality that 34 Americans are murdered with guns every single day, and most of them are purchased or possessed illegally," he said.
Martin Luther King III, right, speaks at a news conference about gun control at City Hall in New York as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks on Monday, Jan. 24, 2011.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg smiles after he poses for a photograph with singer Jennifer Lopez during a press conference Tuesday in New York\'s City Hall.
In this photo released by the New York City Mayor's Office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, center, addresses the media during a news conference on illegal guns in New York, Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011. At left is is New York City Police Detective Stephen McDonald, who was paralyzed from the neck down in 1986 after being shot while questioning a fifteen-year-old male about bicycle thefts in New York's Central Park. In the back row between McDonald and Bloomberg is NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. At right is Rep. Peter King, R-NY. (AP Photo/NYC Mayor's Office, Ed Reed)
NEW YORK - Ben and Jen finally made it to City Hall, but it had nothing to do with a marriage license.
Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., left, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, right
PRESSURE BUILDING: Dr. Robert Bloomberg checks the blood pressure of Wendy Xu of Chandler in his Tempe office.
Valerie Bertinelli arrives at the Bloomberg News Gala which followed the White House Correspondents\' Association Dinner in Washington in this April 21, 2007 file photo.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg passes through a turnstile as he enters the subway on New York\'s Upper East Side, Friday.
Former \"American Idol\" contestant Sanjaya Malakar arrives at the Bloomberg News Gala which followed the White House Correspondents\' Association Dinner in Washington on Saturday April 21, 2007.
New York Governor George Pataki, left, and New Jersey Governor John Corzine are followed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein as they walk by construction equipment at the Freedom Tower site Thursday.
In this photo released by the NYC Mayors Office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to an unidentified subway passenger while on his way to an engagement after addressing the media on a possible terrorist threat to the NYC subway system, Thursday.
In this image taken from television, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes remarks concerning the heightened state of alert in the New York City Subway system Thursday.
NEW YORK - Ellen Pompeo promised she wouldn't have a big wedding. She kept her promise. Pompeo, who plays Dr. Meredith Grey on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," tied the knot with record producer Chris Ivery last Friday in a ceremonial office at City Hall, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a witness.
NEW YORK - Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police officials questioned reports on Tuesday that an alleged subway bomb plot that spread fear through the city was a hoax.
NEW YORK - Authorities stepped up mass transit security Thursday after receiving a credible threat that the city's subway system could be the target of a terrorist attack in coming days.
“Someone should advise Mayor Bloomberg of NYC to keep his money out of Arizona politics. The recent ‘negative’ TV campaign against Jeff Flake is being paid for all across the country by Bloomberg. Let him concentrate on his war against 40-ouncers and MacDonald’s. He’d have a fit if he saw what folks in Arizona take out of Circle K’s and QT’s...”
FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2012 file photo, Tumblr founder David Karp participates in the "Bloomberg Leadership Summit" seminar in New York. Karp, 26, who founded Tumblr, the online blogging forum, and sold it to Yahoo for $1.1 billion, doesn't even have a high school diploma. Karp's mother told the AP that she let him leave school because she realized "he needed the time in the day in order to create." (AP Photo/Charles Sykes/Invision for Advertising Week)
Mayor Greg Stanton and City Manager David Cavazos announced that Phoenix has been selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life — and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.
"After years of alarm, I am renewed with hope for the future of personkind. Even in the event that all-out nuclear holocaust wipes out most life on the planet, we are told cockroaches will likely survive, meaning they will eventually evolve into salmon and tigers and people again, according to evolutionists. So, not to worry."
NEW YORK - Ricky Martin reigned as king at the 50th anniversary of the Puerto Rican parade on Sunday as tens of thousands gathered to celebrate their homeland.
The Arizona Small Business Association is hosting its first annual National Small Business Week Mixer on May 22. The event is free and open to the public, but a reservation is required. The mixer is at Gateway Community College, 275 N. Gateway Drive. in Phoenix. For information, go to www.asba.com.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban supersized sugary sodas has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health. In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, trans fats, saturated fats in meat and dairy products, and sugar (or more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.
NEW YORK — An Arizona congressman who believes it's a security risk to prosecute suspected Sept. 11 terrorists in Manhattan apologized Tuesday for suggesting New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's family could be in danger with such a high-profile case in town.