Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Former New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has unveiled his sweeping gun control platform that includes stricter background checks, firmer regulations and increased funding for violence prevention.
Bloomberg, who entered the Democratic primary race last month, unveiled his gun safety proposal Thursday in Aurora, Colo., where a gunman killed 12 people in a movie theater in 2012.
Bloomberg appeared with Rep. Tom Sullivan, whose son was killed in the shooting, and said that they need to build a future where no one else will have to experience the loss of a loved one to gun violence.
"This year in the United States, 12,000 people will be murdered with illegal handguns and 19,000 people will commit suicide with illegal handguns. It has to stop," he said.
Sullivan said in a statement that he endorsed Bloomberg for president for his stance on gun safety and gun laws.
"This issue of gun safety is not just political, it's deeply personal for me and my family as we work tirelessly to honor the memory of our son and other communities ravaged by gun violence," he said. "Mike Bloomberg is not just talking about the issue, he's created a serious plan to address it."
He said he's supporting Bloomberg because of his long history of gun control advocacy, a notion that the former mayor commented on during his speech.
"My agenda is not some Johnny-come-lately list of borrowed ideas," he said. "This is part of my life's work. And I'm just telling you, I will get this done whether I get elected or not"
According to his website, Bloomberg's plan consists of five pillars: strengthened background checks, the closing of loopholes such as the so-called boyfriend loophole that allows domestic abusers to buy guns if they aren't married to their victim, beefed-up regulations to keep guns away from children, increased funding for violence prevention programs and stronger regulation of the gun industry.
He said Thursday that as apart of his plan he would pass a federal red flag law that would prohibit those deemed to be a danger to themselves and others from having access to guns, declare gun violence a public health emergency and increase the age one can buy a gun from 18 to 21 nationwide.
"I'll ban guns at all public schools and colleges. I'll work with business leaders to encourage responsible sales practices and pressure the gun industry to change. And I will do everything in my power to save lives," he said.