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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing away from his call earlier this week for an illegal strike by police officers, saying now that he didn’t mean a “literal” strike.

On the Piers Morgan show on CNN earlier this week, Bloomberg was reacting to the fact that the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., mass murder had a shotgun, a rifle and two handguns.

“I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike,” he said on the show.

He said the officers should send the message, “We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”

Bloomberg is the co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and has lobbied for more rules, restrictions and regulations for guns over and over again.

He said, “Police officers want to go home to their families. And we’re doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets. The only reason to have an armor-piercing bullet is to go through a bullet-resistant vest. The only people that wear bullet-resistant vets are our police officers.”

But according to a report on New York’s CBS affiliate, a strike by police officers in New York would violate state law.

Bloomberg “clarified” his remarks in light of that, the report said.

“I don’t mean literally go on strike,” he told the station. “Keep in mind, it is police officers who run into danger when the rest of us run out. Police officers have families. They want to come home to their families safely.”

The suspect in the Aurora shootings last week at a theater showing a new Batman movie was arrested by police when they arrived on the scene. He had used a shotgun, a rifle with a 100-round clip and two handguns to shooting 70 people, including 12 who died.

The attack immediately sparked suggestions from a wide range of sources that the U.S. should impose more rules and regulations for gun ownership.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Barack Obama said he would be seeking more limits.

“For every Columbine or Virginia Tech, there are dozens gunned down on the streets of Chicago and Atlanta, and here in New Orleans,” he said. “For every Tucson or Aurora there is daily heartbreak over young Americans shot in Milwaukee or Cleveland.  And when there’s extraordinary heartbreak and tragedy like the one we saw, there’s always an outcry immediately after for action.

“There’s talk of new reforms and there’s talk of new legislation. And too often those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere,” he said.

CBS reported that likely GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney noted that more gun laws probably would not have changed things.

“A lot of what this … young man did was clearly against the law. But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening,” he said.

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