Whatever your gripe with Mayor Bloomberg (almost everyone has one) you have to admit he is one brave SOB.
The Mayor is virtually the only U.S. politician who constantly stands up to the powerful gun lobby, and has become the number one target of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its increasingly angry membership.
“I think Mayor Bloomberg is an arrogant bastard,” snarled member Tom Seeba at the NRA’s recent annual meeting, and this seething anger at our mayor for his stand touting sane gun laws was in evidence throughout the show by NRA leaders, speakers and membership.
Bloomberg’s two latest initiatives only added fuel to the fire. The mayor recently went to Washington DC to press for reform or repeal of the so-called Stand Your Ground laws on the books in 25 states.
“These laws have done harm to public safety, justify civilian gunplay and invite vigilante justice and retribution, with disastrous results,” said Bloomberg.
Along with NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the mayor is also leading the fight to have bullet casings carry unique markings (microstamping) that would help solve gun crimes and give a powerful tool to police in taking criminals off the streets. So far eight NYC policemen have been shot and one killed in NYC in 2012.
The law would in no way compromise Second Amendment rights. Law abiding handgun owners and hunters would feel no effect. Yet the NRA foams at the mouth at the possibility of such a law. Why? Good question, and Bloomberg’s blunt answer just makes them more furious.
“The NRA’s leaders aren’t interested in public safety,” said Bloomberg. “They are interested in power and promoting a culture where people take the law into their own hands and take no consequences for it.”
Since Bloomberg has been mayor, the NRA has poured more money to New York legislators to sway their votes than in any other state. These bribes (let’s call them what they are) helped defeat the microstamping bill when it was first proposed in 2010.
Curious that so many supposedly anti-crime, law and order type politicians are dead silent when Kelly (who may run for NYC mayor on the Republican line) joins Bloomberg in calling for sane gun laws to protect his police force and the public in general.
While I support Bloomberg and Kelly’s noble efforts, I should note that I have never been one of those anti-gun-across-the-board types. Unless you are a vegetarian, you have to be in heavy denial to not admit that those who hunt for their dinner are more honest than those of us who pick up a steak primly packaged in cellophane at Pathmark. And I regret not possessing a licenced handgun when I was assaulted by a gang of street thugs.
That being said, I also know that most gun deaths in the U.S. are not the result of criminals being shot by law-abiding citizens protecting themselves or their families, but of deranged individuals with easy access to guns or family violence or teenage suicides where the quick availability of a firearm proved all too deadly. And while there are plenty of Americans who favor responsible gun laws and ending this insanity, the hopes of this happening grow dimmer by the day.
Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg remains the lone sheriff in town fighting the good fight, trying to protect us from the bad guys as his fellow politicians duck for cover.
Only this time the bad guys endangering us all are the angry, power-crazed leaders of the NRA.