Shortly after reports first surfaced that George Zimmerman would face criminal charges for his role in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Mayor Bloomberg said he hopes "justice is served" in the case.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey said later Wednesday that Zimmerman would be charged with second-degree murder in the death of the unarmed 17-year-old.
Bloomberg was holding an event in Washington to announce a national campaign against so-called "stand your ground" self-defense laws as news broke about the upcoming charges.
Zimmerman has said he shot Martin in self-defense after following the teenager in a Sanford, Fla., a gated community outside Orlando on Feb. 26. He said he was returning to his truck when Martin attacked him and that he shot Martin during the fight. He wasn't arrested partly because of Florida's "stand your ground" law, which gives people wide leeway to use deadly force.
Bloomberg told a National Press Club news conference that "stand your ground" laws make it more difficult to prosecute people who use guns and say they used them in self-defense.
These laws, Bloomberg said, "lead to vigilantism."
"I hope justice is served in Florida," he went on. "I don't know what justice is -- that's up to the court system. But the laws are not the kind of laws that a civilized society should have."
Bloomberg said Zimmerman should have never had a gun with his history of violence. He said New York and other states would not have allowed him to carry a gun.
Bloomberg's office says "stand your ground" laws have passed in 25 states. His campaign will focus on convincing state legislators who have supported those laws to reverse course and help work to repeal or change them.
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.