Bloomberg's latest stunt: Even local official admits push for new gun control legislation wouldn't stop illegal gun sales

by Jim Irvine and Chad D. Baus

Last week, anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Joyce Foundation-funded gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), staged a press conference to hype the group's latest effort to institute a new level of gun control on law-abiding citizens. But while he supports the gun control efforts, even the City of Cleveland's Public Safety Director admits the proposed legislation wouldn't stop illegal sales.

According to The Washington Post, billionaire Bloomberg spent $290,000 of New York City taxpayers' money on yet another "undercover investigation" staged far beyond the borders of his city.

In local coverage, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, citing a MAIG press release, reported that "investigators" contacted 27 "unlicensed dealers" in Ohio and found that 10 agreed to sell guns to prospective buyers who said they would likely fail a background check.

Investigators reportedly asked to meet five of the 10 sellers in person, and bought four handguns and an "assault rifle" with cash.

MAIG is using the "investigation," which was not conducted by law enforcement but rather by private investigators, to argue for passage of legislation which would require background checks for any firearms transaction, even those between private individuals, family members, etc.

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

But at least one gun rights advocate in Ohio doesn't support the legislation.

Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said he doesn't trust Mayors Against Illegal Guns and believes its ultimate goal is to outlaw private gun sales, and eventually ownership, altogether.

Irvine said the Fix Gun Checks Act would simply drive up the cost of gun sales without reducing crime.

"The criminals steal their guns," he said. "That's the number one way a criminal gets his gun."

And as for the gun sellers, if 62 percent of the 125 unlicensed dealers contacted in the investigation are willing to break the law now, who's to say they won't still be willing to do so if the law changes, he said.

"They're still going to sell guns to criminals if that's what they're doing," Irvine said.

Indeed, even as he argued for passage of mandatory background checks, Cleveland Public Safety Director Martin Flask admitted to The Plain Dealer that "a more extensive background check requirement won't stop street corner sales."

There are a number of concerns about the latest MAIG press stunt:

  • We've seen lots of incorrect information about guns coming from Mayor Bloomberg and MAIG, so how can we have confidence in anything they say/do?
  • They claim that 62% of people agreed to sell guns to criminals. Was this a representative sample or did they pick people known to be likely to break the law?
  • Taking their information at face value - what now? How does their proposed legislation impact violent criminals? We know most criminals steal their guns (not buy them at gun shows or online) so how is does their "solution" solve the crime problem? It does not. It simply drives up the cost of gun ownership.
  • Lots of laws are broken in cars too. If we made every private sale go through a registered car dealer, would that reduce DUI's, vehicular homicide, speeding, running red lights, failure to maintain assured clear distance? No. It would do nothing to solve "gun crime" either.
  • Gun dealers can only do checks on people to whom they are selling guns. They are in the business of selling guns. Why would they want to pay an employee to stop taking care of paying customers and pay for background checks on a private sale that is potentially taking away a customer?

Instead, this legislation would serve to produce the same results we always get from Bloomberg and company proposals - driving up costs of gun ownership through red tape, hassles, and bureaucracy. The ultimate goal is fewer citizens owning guns. If Bloomberg truly wants to solve the crime problem, he should be looking at criminals.

Indeed, we have some problems with guns and crime in Ohio too - so much so that Attorney General Mike DeWine has formed a task force to address it. DeWine has repeatedly told the committee he wants them to go after the criminal, not the tool. As such, it is likely that whatever comes out of that committee will make a lot more sense, because unlike Bloomberg, DeWine's stated goal is to reduce crime, not gun ownership.

While the tactics Bloomberg uses are bad enough, it is his hypocrisy that really takes the cake. In a December 7 blog post entitled "Bloomberg's Private Army," the NRA's Wayne LaPierre noted that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg "may have revealed the depth of his ego when was speaking to students at MIT recently."

During the speech, he proclaimed, "I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world."

Maybe the mayor really believes that, but the officers of the NYPD take an oath to the Constitution and the laws of New York, not an oath of fealty to the power-hungry occupier of City Hall. Bloomberg should also remember that a "ruler" (which is what he seems to think he is) who denies the people their Right to Keep and Bear Arms while maintaining a large "army" is apt to be viewed as a petty tyrant, not a benevolent and wise leader.

Bloomberg seems to think that it's all about him when it comes to the idea of Right-to-Carry holders on college campuses, as well. In that same speech to MIT students, he told them that when he was in college, he and his fellow students were too "smoked up and drunk" to responsibly carry a firearm. Maybe Bloomberg didn't realize that MIT has one of the finest collegiate rifle programs in the country, as well as an intercollegiate pistol team and a campus Rifle and Pistol Club. Clearly, the mayor should spend less time pontificating about what he thinks about the world, so he could learn something from his audience.

Jim Irvine and Chad D. Baus are the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman and Vice Chairman.

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