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.
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?”