In the aftermath of the horrible Sandy Hook massacre, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on “Meet the Press” Sunday called for President Obama to make gun control a centerpiece of his second term and pushed back hard against many of the usual arguments that the Constitution or the National Rifle Association won’t let America take action.
Bloomberg, who has been both a Democrat and a Republican and is now an independent, endorsed Obama this year and said Sunday that gun control was one of the reasons. He emphasized that the United States stands alone in the world in the frequency of these kinds of mass murder by gun incidents.
Moderator David Gregory pushed back with the common argument that the NRA is too powerful and that Democrats have learned from past examples the political dangers of gun control. Bloomberg pushed back harder, noting that the NRA’s top priority in 2012 was to defeat Obama, so they obviously aren’t invincible.
Gregory trotted out several of the usual arguments against gun control measures, and Bloomberg slapped them down one after the other. For example, Gregory noted that the usual gun control measures would not necessarily have prevented Adam Lanza’s mother from getting the guns that her son used. Bloomberg said that’s like arguing that because a speed limits don’t stop a particular crazy driver from driving at unsafe speeds and killing people, there should be no speed limits.
Of course, the mayor of New York doesn’t have to worry much politically about the NRA. And Bloomberg, who is almost 70 and is worth roughly $75 billion, is probably through with elective politics. That must be very liberating. But Bloomberg’s candor and willingness to make forceful arguments without political doublespeak was nonetheless refreshing. Obama, one might note, is also through with elective politics.
The transcript of Bloomberg on MTP and video of the interview are available here.