Anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is closing up shop as the Big Apple’s three-term CEO today, and many in the gun rights community are concerned that he will now devote his energy and vast financial resources to shaping the nation the way they believe he thinks it should be shaped: like a fiefdom.
The National Rifle Association’s Chris Cox is out today with a stinging piece that portrays the billionaire as a man who believes “most Americans are too dumb, or too insignificant, to be afforded much freedom at all.”
“He believes we have to be told everything from what to eat, to how much soda we can drink,” Cox says. “And above all, he wants us stripped of our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”
For those who consider Cox the purveyor of paranoia, read what Syuzanna Petrosyan, executive producer at Annenberg Digital News (aka neontommy.com) wrote yesterday:
“The growing prominence of Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York as a gun control policy entrepreneur, can contribute to building coalitions and influencing key decision makers. Thus, with the changes in state laws and with a focus on the states’ policies, as well as influence from policy entrepreneurs such as Bloomberg, the political field will be ready for a policy change. A state-by-state tightening laws can have a huge impact.
“Given the amount of shootings in the past year,” she continued, “it is imperative to immediately focus on a campaign strategy that re-defines the problem of gun policy in the United States, takes advantage of persuasion opportunities and engages policy makers. With carefully planned strategies, a policy window can be opened.”
No longer encumbered by the responsibilities of public office, Bloomberg – the man who infamously observed back in March that “I think there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom” in response to a question about his ban on high-capacity soda drinks, which had recently been overturned in court – has a fortune to spend on elections and issues, including Washington state’s looming initiative battle. To a lot of people, that kind of power and influence is dangerous to their concept of liberty.
As reported months ago by the Washington Times, Bloomberg told NBC’s David Gregory, “I think I have a responsibility, and I think you and all your viewers have responsibilities, to try to make this country safer for our families and for each other. And if I can do that by spending some money and by taking the NRA from being the only voice to being one of the voices so the public can really understand the issues, then I think my money would be well spent, and I think I have an obligation to do that.”
Bloomberg has already demonstrated his willingness to influence political campaigns around the country. He poured a small fortune into Robin Kelly’s successful bid to fill the Illinois congressional seat vacated by the disgraced Jesse Jackson, Jr. He invested more money supporting Terry McAuliffe’s campaign for governor of Virginia. He dumped boatloads of money into Colorado politics, earning the chagrin of the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Bloomberg has his admirers, too. As The Mail reported yesterday, during his dozen years in office, Bloomberg spent an estimated $650 million of his own money “on everything from installing and cleaning tropical fish tanks for City Hall to funding a small theater in Queens and $268 million for three election campaigns.”
The newspaper’s online story noted that Bloomberg, with a personal fortune estimated at $27 billion, spent money to “prop up city agencies, fund the arts, launch and maintain charitable initiatives and make political contributions to causes like gun control and immigration reform.”
Gun rights advocates haven’t forgotten his “gun trafficking sting” operations resulting in legal headaches for firearms dealers in various states where Bloomberg operatives engaged in questionably legal gun buying “investigations.” His Mayors Against Illegal Guns, merged last week with the Moms Demand Action group, has had embarrassing problems with some members.
Gun owners, especially in the West, Midwest and South, are both fearful and furious that Bloomberg may now set about buying elections in their regions by getting out the so-called “progressive” vote.
He leaves office with his own armed entourage and his sights set on disarming average citizens or making it so difficult for them to exercise their right to keep and bear arms that they will give up through discouragement.
The new year, with its mid-term elections and various local gun control efforts, will perhaps tell just how much money can really buy.