Bloomberg advising White House on gun legislation

NEW YORK—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that his office has been advising Vice President Joe Biden as the White House considers new gun control legislation in the wake of last month’s deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“We sent some of our people down to Washington, and we had some people on the phone to give Joe Biden our ideas,” Bloomberg said at a press conference on Monday.

It was unclear if Bloomberg had spoken to Biden or President Barack Obama directly about looming gun legislation. Bloomberg, who has emerged as one of the most vocal advocates of new gun laws, did not say, and a spokesman referred to the mayor’s statement when asked directly.

Bloomberg’s comments come after the Washington Post reported Sunday that Biden and a White House working group charged with coming up with new gun measures is planning a “far broader and more comprehensive” approach than previously anticipated in an attempt to curb gun violence.

Among the items on the table, according to the Post, are universal background checks for firearm buyers, including tougher mental health examinations, and a more comprehensive effort to track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database.

The proposals are expected to be unveiled later this month.

The efforts come at the request of Obama, who charged Biden with formulating new legislation after criticism from Bloomberg and others that the president and Congress haven’t done enough to solve the nation’s gun problem. The White House is reportedly recruiting Bloomberg to help lead the public relations push to get new measures passed.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Bloomberg praised Biden as someone who is “not a shrinking violet” when it comes to efforts to curb gun violence. The mayor suggested he will do what it takes to push new legislation through.

“What we’ve got to do first is try to do everything we can to help Joe Biden,” Bloomberg said.