Upon his re-election as Mayor of New York City, Mike Bloomberg said his top priority was curbing gun violence. “Our most urgent challenge is ending the threat of guns and the violence they do,” he said at his second inaugural address. He subsequently formed an organization of 180 mayors, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, to expose the true costs of gun violence in America and to combat the political stranglehold of the NRA.
The gun lobby, as expected, has irately pushed back. Two gun stores in Virginia, accused by the mayor of lax enforcement policies, on Thursday plan to hold a “Bloomberg Gun GiveAway.” Spend over $100 at either Bob Moates Gun Shop or Old Dominion Guns and Tackle and you could win a free handgun or rifle, value $900. The stores have no plans to cancel the raffle in the wake of the horrific massacre at Virginia Tech.
Thanks to the Republican Congress, law enforcement officials can’t even get a full picture of which guns are used during crimes in their communities. The assault weapons ban of 1994 was not renewed upon expiring in 2004. It’s been ten years since any gun control law has been approved by Congress.
Many Democrats have hardly been better than their GOP counterparts. Senator Jim Webb never apologized for recently carrying a firearm in possible violation of DC gun laws. Groups like Americans for Gun Safety, in conjunction with the DLC, have long tried to push the party to the right on this issue. Everyone remembers that ridiculous picture of John Kerry hunting in camouflage.
A few brave Democrats, such as Representative Carolyn McCarthy from Long Island, are trying to toughen rather than weaken federal gun laws. McCarthy lost her husband, and almost her son, in a horrendous 1993 shooting known as the Long Island Railroad Massacre. Maybe after the tragedy at Virginia Tech, we’ll listen to what McCarthy and Bloomberg have to say.