NYC Mayor Bloomberg Becomes First—Only?—Politician to Advocate Tougher Gun Control, Post-Colorado Massacre
As noted, conservatives and "cultural scolds" are falling all over themselves to blame the Colorado movie theater killings on anything but guns. Despite the fact that James Holmes reportedly obtained 6000 rounds of ammunition and all of his guns legally, including an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle that he wouldn't have been able to purchase had the 1994 Violent Crime and Control and Law Enforcement Act not been allowed to expire in 2004. Politicians are saying all kinds of ridiculous things; Virginia's Senate candidates both eschewed advocating tougher gun control, with Republican George Allen saying the "solution is not to take the rights of law-abiding citizens (without explaining why a law-abiding citizen might require an machine gun). Even more callous, though, was his Democrat opponent Tim Kaine, who said it is "complete hubris to say we can stop bad things from happening." Maybe so, but it's not hubris to say we have a societal responsibility to prevent civilians from obtaining militarized assault weapons built solely for war combat? Meanwhile, Tea Party Republican Louie Gohmert of Texas believes the solution is actually looser gun control, asserting during an interview that if everyone in the movie theater had a gun, the massacre might have been prevented. “It does make me wonder," he opined, "with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying? That could have stopped this guy more quickly?”
That last bit got NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who at this point may be the only politician speaking out for tougher gun laws in the aftermath of the shootings. Via ThinkProgress:
“You know, to arm everybody and have the Wild West all the time is one of the more nonsensical things you can say,” Bloomberg said, according to an excerpt released by CBS. “I don’t know what [Gohmert’s] motives are, I don’t know him and I’m not here to impugn him or anybody else. It just does not make any sense. The bottom line is if we had fewer guns, we would have a lot fewer murders.”
”Do you really think that you’d be safe if anyone in the audience could pull out a gun and start shooting? I don’t think so,” Bloomberg added.
(It should be noted that Bloomberg's "gun control" policies in New York includestop and frisk, which as we've reported, results more often in the criminalization of young men of color than really stopping guns.)
ThinkProgress notes that Bloomberg was the only politician to speak out with this opinion, and so far we can't find evidence otherwise, unless you still count Eliot Spitzer, who spoke out on his Current show, Viewpoint:
Depending on which study you choose, there are 10,000 gun murders in the United States every year. According to USA Today, there are on average 20 mass shootings per year. And according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, every day in America guns claim 84 lives and wound nearly 200.
Yet somehow, gun control in this country has become the third rail of politics.
Perhaps that’s partly because the public seems to care less and less. According to Gallup, in 1990 almost 80 percent of Americans said that laws covering the sales of firearms should be made more strict. By 2010, that number was only 44 percent.
Damn Spitzer, don't hurt 'em! Practically everyone else advocating tougher gun laws has been a pundit, journalist, or parent. But it's hard to argue otherwise when you hear testimony from the witnesses, particularly that of Chris Ramos, who survived the shooting with his younger sister, and spoke to several news outlets yesterday:
“And the sad part is with this evil, this death, it had no bound. It had no shame. It did not care about age. It did not care about sex. It didn’t care about anything. Little girls were shot and little boys were shot. Elderly people were shot and teenagers were shot and people still in high school were shot. He did not care. Death did not care at all. About age, sex or anything. It was all a massacre.”
Indubitably, the tragedy would have been minimized if James Holmes had not had legal access to a military-grade assault weapon.