About a month after the U.S. Senate voted down a series of gun control amendments back in April, an article in the New Republic magazine boldly declared, “This is How the NRA Ends: A Bigger, Richer, Meaner Gun Control Movement has Arrived.” The article was a long diatribe regurgitating much of the stale tripe and distortion we’ve been hearing from the anti-rights movement for decades and singing the praises of the movement’s new messiah, Mike Bloomberg, the three-term mayor of New York City. Alec MacGillis, the author of the article and a senior editor at the magazine, is, like so many in the media, obviously a true believer in the concept of gun control. His enthusiastic bias oozes from the page as he laments the shameful act of the Senate in rejecting such an eminently fair, reasonable and common-sense bipartisan compromise proposal to make it a federal felony to buy a gun from your neighbor without first submitting to government scrutiny and paying a punitive tax for wishing to exercise your constitutional rights – even if you already own a dozen guns and have a state-issued concealed carry license. His portrait of Bloomberg is one of a dynamic crusader motivated by compassion and imbued with the most powerful of superhero super-powers – money!
As one of the wealthiest men in the world, Bloomberg can do just about anything he wants. When he wanted to be mayor of New York, Bloomberg, a life-long Democrat originally from Massachusetts, saw that the Democratic field was too crowded, so he ran as a Republican, wrote a check for $73 million dollars and became the mayor of New York. By the time he was elected to a second term in that office, Bloomberg was tired of pretending to be a Republican, so he declared himself an independent. At the end of that term, the law said Bloomberg couldn’t run again, but he wanted to – so he went to the City Council and got the law changed, wrote several more large checks and began an unprecedented third term as the city’s mayor.
Bloomberg’s personal wealth is estimated to be something north of $27 billion and growing. At the present rates, Bloomberg could give away or squander well over a billion dollars per year and still be rising in the Forbes 100 list of the world’s wealthiest people. And Bloomberg does indeed give away and squander significant amounts of money each year. Along with mandating various health rules in his city, such as broad restrictions on smoking, bans on restaurants serving trans-fats and limits on the size of sweetened drinks restaurants can serve, Bloomberg has donated tens of millions of dollars to tobacco control organizations and programs around the world. These efforts have earned him the title “Nanny Bloomberg” in some circles.
What has Alec MacGillis and the anti-rights crowd so excited about Bloomberg is that for the past several years he has been aiming his big money cannons more and more toward gun control. The mayor, who never goes anywhere without an armed escort, doesn’t just think us little people are too stupid to make our own decisions regarding smoking, fats and soda pop, he thinks we are much too untrustworthy to be buying, selling, possessing, or carrying guns. With that in mind, hizzoner created a group he calls Mayors Against Illegal Guns, or MAIG, and has been using this group increasingly to underwrite the anti-rights movement. Gun controllers have had sugar daddies before, but never one as committed and savvy, or as willing to spend his – and taxpayer’s – money as Bloomberg is proving to be.
The upshot of the New Republic article is that Bloomberg, with his millions, teamed with the angry, anti-gun masses energized by the Sandy Hook School atrocity, will be able to assemble an organization equal to the NRA (and presumably the dozens of grass-roots rights groups around the country). MacGillis gushes about the dozens of family members and friends of victims of firearms tragedies whom Bloomberg has turned into professional victims and the thousands of “Friends” they’ve amassed on Facebook. He seems convinced that these few dozen paid activists and their few thousand followers – with the help of Bloomberg’s money and political savvy – can equal the political clout of over 5 million committed NRA members and some 70 to 90 million concerned gun owners.
As much as the control freaks like Bloomberg and MacGillis want to believe that the “Gun Lobby” consists of Wayne LaPierre and a bunch of “suits” in D.C. pulling the wool over the eyes of politicians and the American people with their vast, gun industry war chest, the truth is that the real “gun lobby” is hundreds of under-paid advocates like myself, backed by thousands of volunteer activists in grass-roots groups around the country, representing tens of millions of lawful gun owners. Some of those gun owners might not be particularly politically active in every race every election cycle, but when the lines are clear and threats are looming, those gun owners get involved and can shift the political landscape. Thanks to Bloomberg and Obama, the “gun lobby” is awake, and Bloomberg is providing the threat and clearly drawing the lines. The “myth” of our political clout should be driving a stake through the heart of the anti-rights movement in 2014 and 2016 – if the Republicans don’t pull some stupid stunt and stab gun owners in the back between now and then.
Welcome to the party, Mike. We’ve been fighting this fight for over 40 years, and your money and emotional rhetoric doesn’t scare us one bit. The Bill of Rights is not for sale.