In a radio interview Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg confronted the presidential candidates for their lack of leadership on gun control in light of the Aurora shooting.
Speaking with The John Gambling show, Bloomberg said the Aurora shootings should be an opportunity to take action on gun violence.
"Soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they're gonna do about it," Bloomberg said. "No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right ot hear from both of them."
The Aurora tragedy was among the deadliest in recent memory, as 12 were killed and more than 35 injured when a masked gunman, suspected to be James Holmes,opened fire in a crowded movie theater near Denver.
In the U.S., the most recent comparable incident occured in 2009, when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 and injured dozens in Fort Hood, Texas. Mass killings via armed gunmen have occurred nearly every year across the globe, though recently they have been particularly frequent in the U.S.
Besides the Aurora and Fort Hood shootings, there have been school shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine, Colorado, as well as an incident in rural Alabama in 2009, all of which resulted in 10 or more deaths. The worst death toll for a recent mass killing happened at a summer camp in Norway, where Anders Breivik killed 80 people.
Authorities say the Aurora shooter was heavily armed: he had an assault rifle, a shotgun, two handguns, and several cannisters of tear gas.
"(Gun violence) is obviously a problem across the country," not just in urban areas, Bloomberg said. "I don't think there's any other developed country in the world that has remotely the problem we have ... We have more guns than people in this country."
Bloomberg went on to say that state governments should move on gun issues if the federal government would not. He said that rural areas are just as susceptible as urban ones. He added New York state legislature has passed stringent gun control laws, which may not be palatable to some states, but each state should ask what it should do about guns.
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.