Updated February 26, 2019 - 6:42 pm
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke Tuesday at a private Las Vegas event celebrating background check legislation in Nevada.
“The public is speaking at the ballot box,” Bloomberg said after the event at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center, 888 W. Bonneville Ave. The press was not allowed to attend the function.
Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a law requiring background checks on private gun sales on Feb. 15 amid outcry from Republican lawmakers who complained the bill was rushed through the Senate and Assembly.
Bloomberg answered criticisms that the bill wouldn’t stop gun violence or people who were already breaking the law.
“If you stop some of them, that’s better than stopping none,” he said.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, also spoke after the event. He said a study by the nonprofit group found that 87 percent of unlicensed dealers were in compliance with the law in states with comprehensive background check measures.
Feinblatt and Moms Demand Action volunteer Linda Cavazos praised Bloomberg’s advocacy for gun safety laws in Nevada.
“He is a man that doesn’t back down from what really matters,” Feinblatt said.
Nevada voters approved the measure in 2016, but language in that initiative placed the burden of running background checks on the FBI. The new bill repealed that provision and requires that background checks go through licensed gun dealers.
Bloomberg said the next steps in gun legislation in the U.S. are a ban on automatic weapon sales and red flag laws. He said such laws would enable court systems to temporarily confiscate guns from an individual displaying behavior that might precede suicide or gun violence, if a judge determines that person poses a danger.
“We’re all Americans, and we’re all human beings. Shouldn’t we have compassion and try to protect all of each other?” Bloomberg asked. “That’s what America’s all about. That’s what humanity’s all about.”
Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman who has been weighing a presidential run as a Democrat, said he has not yet decided if he will run in the 2020 election.