Just a stone's throw from the Aurora movie theater where 12 people were killed in a mass shooting, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday brought his nascent presidential campaign to meet with dozens of gun-violence survivors and unveil a raft of gun-control policies the billionaire said he intends to enact whether he wins the presidency or not.
"It's time to say enough is enough. We're just not going to put up with it anymore," Bloomberg said after describing a sweeping agenda that includes banning assault-style weapons, requiring everyone to obtain a permit before purchasing a firearm and instituting a national red-flag law to allow authorities to seize guns from those deemed a threat to themselves or others.
"As president, I will attack gun violence from every angle," the Democrat said.
He added that he plans to declare gun violence a "national public health emergency," which could lead to additional funding for research into its prevention.
Bloomberg, who founded and has poured tens of millions of dollars into gun-control advocacy groups, appeared at the Heritage Christian Center in Aurora with state Sen. Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was among the 12 killed in the July 2012 shooting.
Sullivan, who survived a recall attempt earlier this year when opponents failed to collect enough signatures to force a vote, said he was endorsing Bloomberg's presidential campaign.
"I am confident that survivors and victims of gun violence will have an ally with Mike in the White House, that he won't back down from the pressure of the gun lobby and the gun industry," the Centennial Democrat said.
Bloomberg's plan also includes banning high-capacity magazines; setting a minimum age of 21 to buy handguns, semi-automatic rifles and shotguns; requiring a 48-hour waiting period before all gun purchases; temporarily banning gun possession for those convicted of assault and other violent crimes; and overturning a law that gives gun manufacturers broad immunity from lawsuits.
Aurora has become a regular stop for presidential candidates looking to make statements on gun issues. Beto O'Rourke, who proposed a mandatory assault-weapons buy-back before ending his campaign last month, met with gun violence survivors in September at Aurora's city hall, about a mile from Bloomberg's Thursday event.
Gun violence prevention has been a signature issue for Bloomberg, who was among the founders of Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2006 when he held the top job in New York City. The group, which counted 1,000 mayors as members, has since merged with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. He also founded and funds Everytown for Gun Safety, a national political and lobbying organization, which counts 6 million members.
The 77-year-old former three-term mayor, with an estimated net worth upwards of $50 billion, has said he'll spend "whatever it takes" to win the presidency. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Bloomberg spent close to $100 million to help elect Democrats to Congress in last year's election.
This week, his presidential campaign reserved tens of millions of dollars in new TV advertising in all 50 states, according to the Associated Press. That's on top of the estimated $40 million Bloomberg spent to air TV ads launching his campaign in late November, including heavy advertising in Colorado and other states that begin casting presidential primary ballots in March.
“Mike Bloomberg’s never been afraid of tough fights — the ones that make a true difference in people's lives. And Mike's won them," the new ad says.
By Thursday afternoon, Bloomberg had yet to file to appear on Colorado's March 3 presidential primary ballot.