Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) — About 30 minutes before two people were shot dead and nine were injured near New Yorkâ€™s Empire State Building, the mayor of Americaâ€™s largest city was on the radio talking again aboutÂ guns.
â€œIt is just too many guns on the streets,â€ New York MayorÂ Michael BloombergÂ said during his weekly radio appearance today on WOR radio. â€œThe argument, â€˜Guns donâ€™t kill people, people kill people,â€™ is one of the most disingenuous things you can say. It does take a person to pull theÂ trigger.â€
Moments after the mayor finished speaking,Â Jeffrey JohnsonÂ of Manhattan returned to a business that fired him last year and shotÂ Steve Ercolino, 41, a former co-worker, on the street, New York police said. Johnson, wielding a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol, fled the scene, Police CommissionerÂ Raymond KellyÂ told reporters. Johnson was killed byÂ police.
Bloomberg, 70, has made restricting gun sales a signature issue. He serves as co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of more than 700 mayors who advocate new laws and stiffer enforcement of existing ones. The group argues for measures to keep guns away fromÂ criminals.
Todayâ€™s episode follows a July 20 shooting near Denver where a masked gunman opened fire, killing 12 and injuring 58 in a suburbanÂ Aurora theater. In Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple on Aug. 5 before turning the weapon onÂ himself.
â€œOur state has no tolerance for senseless acts of violence that harm our people,â€ New York GovernorÂ Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said in an e-mailed statement today. â€œWe will do everything possible to ensure that law enforcement officials have the tools they need so residents of the city and tourists can enjoy everything New York City has to offer without fearing for their own safety andÂ security.â€
On Aug. 7, Cuomo said heâ€™d make strengthening the stateâ€™s gun laws a priority when lawmakers return to Albany inÂ January.
New York City law requires a license to purchase a handgun. A special license is needed to carry the handguns loaded with ammunition. Applicants undergo a criminal backgroundÂ check.
The suspect bought his gun legally in Florida and had no permit to own or carry it in New York City, saidÂ Marc LaVorgna, Bloombergâ€™sÂ spokesman.
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