Monday, June 04, 2012


Last night, New York magazine posted its new cover story. It's about Mayor Mike Bloomberg's quest to find meaning in his life when his final term as mayor is winding down and he knows there's no way he'll ever get the job he really wants, which is president of the United States.

Bloomberg's already got some irons in the fire -- he's given a lot of money to the Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign (which, reports say, has been very effective). He's been working with other big-city mayors on various initiatives for their cities. And we're told (by Rahm Emanuel) that one of his "passions" is gun control.

That's been clear for a while. That's a cause to which I wish he would apply his vast fortune, his vast ego, his boundless energy and seemingly limitless sense of his own self-worth. But while he's already putting his mark on other areas of American life, even before leaving office, the gun-control needle remains unmoved, as David Kopel notes at the Volokh Conspiracy:

In April, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that the National Rifle Association was viewed favorably by 68% of Americans, and unfavorably by 32%.... In each of the demographics which the poll provided -- Republicans, Democrats, independents, whites, and blacks -- the NRA was viewed favorably by at least 55%.

A 2005 Gallup Poll had found a 60/34 favorable/unfavorable view of the NRA. Previous Gallup results were 52/39 (May 2000), 51/39 (April 2000), 51/40 (April 1999, right after the Columbine High School murders), 42/51 (June 1995), and 55/32 (March 1993).

So America thinks the NRA is just swell. Kopel thinks this makes perfect sense -- he points out that when you ask poll respondents whether they want to ban handguns altogether, the notion is as unpopular as the NRA is popular.

But Kopel doesn't tell you that a clear majority of Americans still favor gun control in general. Go to Polling Report and you'll see that, in poll after poll, when voters are asked whether gun laws should be made or less strict, they say the laws should be stricter.

And yet Americans love the NRA, which is precisely the organization that makes stricter gun laws impossible.

Look, I don't love Mike Bloomberg. I think he's a plutocratic control freak. But the NRA has absolute control over America's gun laws, which means that those laws continue to get less and less strict.

Why doesn't Bloomberg get cracking on that? Why doesn't he write an eight-figure check to get an organization up and running that would be an effective counterweight to the gun lobby, and that would expose how the gun lobby actually terrorizes politicians into never, ever voting against its interests? Why doesn't Bloomie inance some lobbyists and some media-ready experts, experts who really know guns and can go toe-to-toe with the gun lobby's talking heads?

Then, maybe, after a Columbine or a Virginia Tech or a Tucson, it might be possible for a gun law or two to be tightened. That's what America wants. But right now, on guns, we can never get what we want. We could use the help of a billionaire.


Victor said...

Bloomie's too busy regulating the amount of soda and other sweet drinks that can be sold in one container will be - even though consumption of those drinks has been declining over the past two decades - unlike gun purchases.

And I think the NRA will miss Obama more than anyone.
He's sold more guns for them than all of the other recent President's combined, AND the Black Panthers - new, or old.

The NRA should be behind the scenes, writing pro-Obama ads to run nationwide.

Pastey-white Mitt won't sell any guns.
Well, maybe a few of us Liberals will buy one or two to keep away the coming Dominionist and Conservative-base hordes - or to kill ourselves with.

Never Ben Better said...

Hey, this liberal's already got her guns! Of course, they're just .22 target guns so they wouldn't be much good at stopping a charging Dominionist, not unless I managed to hit the whites of his eyes....

Hmm...... better get down to the range and practice some more. Maybe accuracy can compensate for lack of oomph.

Steve M. said...

Maybe the solution is for more of us to be like you. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

For me, it's just living my whole life in cities. Gun proliferation may work out OK elsewhere, but in cities it always comes to grief.

Never Ben Better said...

Well, all joking aside, I believe we do need gun owners to support and work for better regulation if we're going to get it. It's like Nixon going to China.