Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg revealed his plans for gun control today at a speech in Aurora, Colorado — the site of a horrific mass shooting at a movie theater in 2012.
As gun control proposals go, they were pretty run-of-the-mill. Stronger background checks, permits for every weapon sold, and “red flag” laws to keep the “wrong” people from buying a firearm.
What Bloomberg left out of his speech was how any of this would actually reduce gun crimes, prevent mass shootings, or keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Guess he sorta forgot that part.
Bloomberg calls for a background check system that entails permits for all new gun buyers, police notification when owners have been prohibited from holding firearms and a crackdown on unlicensed sellers at gun shows or online, according to campaign officials. As mayor in 2009, Bloomberg oversaw a sting operation at gun shows around the country and turned over illegally bought firearms to federal authorities.
His team said his proposed law would carve out exceptions for law enforcement officials, hunting and self-defense, and noted 21 states and Washington, D.C., already have similar measures in place.
Bloomberg is also calling for a “red flag screening” to block people who pose a danger from getting permitted to own a firearm. Issuers would have to review histories of domestic violence and other risks.
“Red flag” laws to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill might be a good idea — in theory. But how would you go about deciding who is sick enough to be denied a firearm? If someone is taking anti-psychotic drugs, is that enough to keep them from purchasing a gun? And what about someone who was on anti-depressants 5 years ago?
There isn’t a fair way to make it work and it should not be tried until one is found.
Bloomberg also wants background checks to take place before a buyer takes possession of the firearm. The campaign claims that 15,000 gun sales would have been stopped if such a law had been on the books. Wonder where they dug up that statistic?
Bloomberg is trying to separate himself from other candidates by exaggerating his record as mayor.
A spokesman said Bloomberg “is the only candidate in the race who has taken on the NRA and won, time and again,” referring to his personal expenditure of several hundred million dollars on the issue. In 2018, Bloomberg invested $112 million on 24 political candidates who supported gun control measures and won 21 of those races.
“He’s passed gun laws in states across the country that have saved lives, including winning in states with Republican control,” the spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, said in response to how Bloomberg intends to build bipartisan support for his platform. “He has shown he knows how to break through and deliver smart gun laws and will do the same as president.”
Bloomberg has given generously to state anti-gun campaigns but it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that “he passed gun laws” in those states or that he’s the only candidate who took on the NRA and won. But when your only qualification for the office is that you have more money than God, you’ll take what you can get.
It’s remarkable the number of bad ideas coming from Democrats on gun control. The laws they have been proposing for three decades wouldn’t stop a single criminal from committing an act of violence or using a gun in the commission of a crime.
They would, however, make it more of a bother for law-abiding citizens to buy legal firearms.
Forget all the arguments about “slippery slope” gun registration laws or gun show “loopholes.” As it always has been, this is about politicians appearing to “do something” about the problem. Even if that something won’t prevent a single school shooting or mass murder. Even if it won’t prevent a single criminal from purchasing a gun from someone, somewhere. It doesn’t matter because, politics.
Bloomberg’s proposals won’t go anywhere, even if he’s elected president. Democrats had a supermajority in Congress and a Democratic president in 2009 and still couldn’t pass gun control.
Maybe they should take the hint.