Michael Bloomberg, a former New York City billionaire mayor who made his run for president, apologized for supporting the city's stop and freeze policy.
Disproportionately targeted black and Hispanic residents.
Speaking at an African-American church in Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Bloomberg said politics was a mistake.
He believed that stopping and salvation saved lives, he said, but accepted that good intentions were not good enough.
"I can't change history," he told a meeting at the Christian Cultural Center. "However, today I want you to know that I realize then that I was wrong and sorry. But I also want you to know that I am more committed than ever to ending gun violence."
Mr Bloomberg, who was the city's Republican mayor from 2002 to 201
"Trust between the police and the communities, trust between you and me," he said, "And the erosion of trust worries me deeply. And it still bothers me. I want to win it too."
But the apology was met with skepticism by many who believe that time has given him a political motive
Although he did not officially announce his candidacy, Mr Bloomberg indicated that he could join the Democratic race for the presidential post before next year's election.
Since the end of his time as Mayor, Mr. Bloomberg has repeatedly defended stop and go policy – including until this January.