In Wake of Colorado Shooting, NYC "Stop-and-Frisk" Mayor Demands National Gun Control Policy
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to last night's tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado by asking Presidential nominees MItt Romney and Barack Obama to come up with a comprehensive gun control policy. If anybody, Bloomberg could use some advice on "what to do about guns." New York City has some of the strictest gun control legislation in the country, but its enforcement is extremely troubling, not to mention ineffective.
Last month, the Nation's Investigative fund released the report "Ground Zero for Stop and Frisk," published on City Limits. The investigation found that stop-and-frisk was not producing a sense of safety, but fear among residents in the most heavily policed precinct of New York. While stop-and-frisk has been increasing exponentially, the gun recovery rate has remained relatively stable. Overall, there is no evidence to suggest stop-and-frisk is working. What we do know is that it is racially enforced and often unconstitutional.
The racial element of gun control should come as no surprise, but should be central to the conversation on gun violence nonetheless. In the wake of the Colorado tragedy, it is important to balance reactionary calls for gun legislation with critiques of past and current enforcement. How can we reduce gun violence without the racism and constitutional apathy of New York's stop-and-frisk (and the housing project "gun sweeps" Chicago conducted in the '90s)? The need for a solutions-oriented gun control policy is clear -- but to be effective, we must hold ourselves to a data-driven standard that is constitutional and fair. Avoiding policies that will mimic Bloomberg's gun control strategy is a good place to start.