New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said President Barack Obama has spent his first term avoiding the gun control debate, as he continued to press Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney on the issue following Friday's mass shooting in Colorado.
"The president has spent the last three years trying to avoid the issue, or if he's facing it, I don't know of anybody who has seen him face it," Bloomberg said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."
A vocal proponent of gun control, Bloomberg has renewed his push for stricter gun laws since suspected shooter James Holmes allegedly opened fire in a packed Aurora movie theater during a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" Friday, killing 12 people and wounding 59 others.
Indeed, Obama has largely remained silent on gun control policy. Although he called for reinstating the expired federal ban on assault weapons during his 2008 presidential bid, he has neither worked to re-implement the ban nor laid out any gun control proposals since assuming office.
The last time the president discussed the subject was in January 2011, after the Tucson shooting spree that injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and left six people dead. Obama promised to outline new steps for gun safety at the time, but he has not offered specifics since then.
Bloomberg's criticism Sunday did not focus solely on the president. He noted that Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts passed a ban on assault weapons, has "apparently changed his views." And it is because of their differing views on gun policy that Bloomberg, an independent, has been reticent to support Romney this cycle.
“This really is an enormous problem for the country, and it's up to these two presidential candidates," Bloomberg said. "They want to lead this country, and they've said things before that they're in favor of banning things like assault weapons. Where are they now and why don't they stand up? And if they want our votes, they better.”