CITY HALL — Mayor Michael Bloomberg blamed the powerful gun lobby Monday for the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Florida teen who was gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer last month.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn Monday, Bloomberg slammed lax gun laws for allowing alleged shooter George Zimmerman to walk around armed.
While some have suggested that the situation was sparked by the hoodie Martin was reportedly wearing when he was shot, Bloomberg laid the blame squarely on gun manufacturers.
“I think what you see here, and we should be perfectly clear about this: The gun lobby is writing our nation’s gun laws. It’s a disgrace,” said the mayor, a longtime gun-control advocate, who has repeatedly urged federal and state lawmakers to pass more stringent legislation limiting access to firearms.
“The result is that our children are being killed and our police officers are being killed,” Bloomberg said of the policies, warning, “You and I and our families are in danger, and in greater danger than we should be.”
Of particular frustration, he said, are “stand your ground” laws allowing people to use deadly force in self defense. The mayor said the laws “are opposed by law enforcement and opposed by prosecutors" because they “encourage violence.”
He argued that Zimmerman, who has not been arrested, should have never been allowed to carry a loaded, concealed handgun because of an alleged previous arrest for attacking a police officer.
“This is just the craziest thing. Only in America,” he said. “The rest of the world is looking at us incredulously, that we’re letting people kill our citizens.
“Where's the outrage?” he asked.
Bloomberg's coalition, Mayor's Against Illegal Guns, put out a call last week for lawyers to help volunteer their time to help with the case.
Bloomberg’s comments came shortly after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also announced that the Council will be introducing a resolution this week condemning the killing and lack of arrest.
“Tragedies such as Trayvon’s death are simply unfathomable.," she said in a statement. "However, when they do occur, we must unite in our efforts to seek justice and prevent these dark moments in history from repeating themselves."
Martin, 17, had reportedly been on his way home from a store, after buying a bag of Skittles, when he noticed Zimmerman and told girlfriend on the phone that the neighborhood watch volunteer was following him. Martin was shot to death during the ensuing confrontation.
However, The Orlando Sentinel reported Monday that Zimmerman told police Martin had attacked him, decking him with a single punch and then climbing on top of him and slamming his head into the sidewalk several times.
Martin's death has sparked outrage across the nation, leading to numerous rallies and marches.
On Sunday, worshipers at an East Village church donned hoodies in a show of solidarity with the teen, whose outerwear allegedly drew suspicions in the gated community.
“Your heart just has to go out to the parents,” Bloomberg said of the killing. “This really has struck a nerve with a lot of people across the country.”