Over the weekend Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a $12 million ad campaign dedicated to pushing senators to back legislation that would expand background checks against gun buyers. This ad blitz was the latest salvo in the expensive attack on illegal guns the billionaire mayor has focused on in recent months and it prompted National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre to accuse him of trying to “buy America.” At a press conference this afternoon where he was announcing a new program to help connect low-income city residents with job opportunities, many of the questions Mayor Bloomberg fielded from reporters were about his war of words with the NRA. Mayor Bloomberg first addressed the response he’s received after announcing the ad campaign and said an “enormous number” of people have thanked him for the commercials.
“Nobody’s going to walk up to me and say bad things, so I’m not so sure that I can actually represent, but I’ve just had lots and lots of phone calls, text messages, emails, people in the street … that are just so thankful that somebody’s willing to stand up and to counter the NRA,” he said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’s unfazed by pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association and their lawsuits against New York’s new gun control legislation. Indeed, Mr. Cuomo took his argument a step further this morning and labeled the legal efforts “propaganda” and part of a plot to “misinform and scare people.”
“The extremists … spread fear and unrealistic theories of conspiracies of a citizenry that needs to be armed because the government is possibly tyrannical,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom. “You need a system and government regulations to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. … That’s what we put in place in New York with the New York SAFE Act. It doesn’t interfere with anybody’s Second Amendment right; … that’s not what the New York SAFE Act is about. That’s why they need the fear and they have to misinform and scare people because, on the facts, it makes total sense.”
In an announcement surprising many political observers, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre came out swinging against both the media and a host of other entities in the wake of the recent elementary school massacre in Connecticut. In today’s extensive address, Mr. LaPierre further proposed immediately putting an armed security guard in every single school in order to guard students against future shootings. Needless to say, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has become one of the nation’s chief voices against the NRA’s lobbying efforts, was unimpressed.
“The NRA’s Washington leadership has long been out of step with its members, and never has that been so apparent as this morning,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “Their press conference was a shameful evasion of the crisis facing our country. Instead of offering solutions to a problem they have helped create, they offered a paranoid, dystopian vision of a more dangerous and violent America where everyone is armed and no place is safe. Leadership is about taking responsibility, especially in times of crisis. Today the NRA’s lobbyists blamed everyone but themselves for the crisis of gun violence. While they promote armed guards, they continue to oppose the most basic and common sense steps we can take to save lives – not only in schools, but in our movie theaters, malls, and streets. Enough. As a country, we must rise above special interest politics.”
Earlier today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre and other leaders from the gun group held a much-anticipated press conference to react to the ongoing controversy surrounding the shootings at a Sandy Hook elementary school one week ago. For those hoping for a grand speech, Mr. LaPierre certainly didn’t disappoint. In the address, Mr. LaPierre pushed back hard against those calling for additional gun control measures while accusing the media of being “silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators” in the violence. He also seemed to hold a host of other entities and events responsible, such as Hurricane Sandy.
“Violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years,” Mr. LaPierre said. “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’…A thousand music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and portray murder, portray murder, as a way of life. And then they all have the nerve to call it ‘entertainment.’ But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”
After this morning’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the National Rifle Association cancelled a planned Twitter promotion with country music rapper Colt Ford. A live “Tweet & Greet” with Mr. Ford was scheduled for 1 p.m. (Central Time) this afternoon on the “NRA Country” account. However, shortly after the event’s planned start time, an announcement was posted on the NRA Country Twitter account that it would be rescheduled.
“Apologies for the inconvenience, but the @ColtFord Tweet & Greet will be rescheduled. Please check back for more info!” the announcement said.
Shooting Your Mouth Off
This morning, as the world reacted to the news of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead, the American Rifleman, an official journal of the National Rifle Association, sent a rather insensitive message from their Twitter account.
“Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?” the tweet said.
On John Gambling’s radio show this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg took some time to continue his crusade against illegal guns, and made the case for what voters should do to get organized.
“What you’ve got to do is take a look at your Congressman, your Senator, and say ‘Where are you? I’m not going to worry about everybody else. I’m going to work for your opponent unless you do what’s right to protect my kids and the cops on the corner who are putting their lives on the line to protect me,” Mr. Bloomberg responded when Mr. Gambling asked how voters are supposed to make a difference in such a complicated legislative body.