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The Mayor vs. The People

Thursday, October 1, 2009

by JAMES O.E. NORELL, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Following U.S. Senate action temporarily halting progress on an amendment to create national Right-to-Carry reciprocity, The Washington Post described the present and future gun-ban war as “being the stare down between the National Rifle Association and Michael Bloomberg. Behemoth vs. behemoth.”

“They’ve got 4 million followers.

“He’s got 16 billion simoleons.”

The Post was right about Bloomberg--the 17th richest man in the world--but fell short about the people whose freedom Bloomberg has chosen to attack. His target goes way beyond the membership of the NRA to the majority of American voters, who share the deep-seated principles protected by the NRA.

“Gun control” is morphing into a fight between the billionaire mayor of New York City who bought and paid for his own election with $150 million in pocket money--and a majority of the American people, not just the members of the NRA.

A recent poll by Zogby International/The O’Leary Report produced some key indicators on how the American people feel about the Right-to-Carry issue and about the Second Amendment--and it’s not good news for Bloomberg’s anti-self defense cabal of city politicians.

Zogby’s survey of 4,470 voters in July showed the concept of concealed-carry for law-abiding citizens is overwhelmingly supported by American voters--83 percent to 11 percent.

Broken down by distinct groups of voters, the findings are remarkable. Here is a sampling: 80 percent for Democrats; 83 percent for young voters 18 to 29 years old; 80 percent for Hispanic voters; 80 percent for Obama voters.

This finding is no surprise to the NRA or to grassroots leaders who have worked during the past 22 years to enact Right-to-Carry laws by large margins in legislatures across the country. Florida’s enactment of its landmark shall-issue Right-to-Carry statute in 1987 should have given the anti-self defense forces a clue. Immensely popular with the general public, it passed the Florida Senate by a unanimous vote.

The same broad support is seen in recent enactment of stand-your-ground and Castle Doctrine laws. It may well explain how people voted with their wallets in the stampede to purchase firearms and ammunition following the last election.

The Zogby/O’Leary poll also shows 84 percent support for the Second Amendment as a personal individual right, mirroring results first found in 1975, when a Decision Making Information (DMI) poll was released by key members of Congress. Further, Zogby found that 66.5 percent of the American people believe that the constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms also protects against infringements by state and local governments.

The gun-ban crowd and media elite portray the latest battle in the right to bear arms as a struggle between billionaire Michael Bloomberg and the NRA. A recent Zogby/O’Leary Report poll tells a different story--a strong majority of Americans overwhelmingly support the Second Amendment.

But massive support for the Second Amendment by the American public is something Bloomberg and his axis already know. In 2006 a group funded by another billionaire, Andrew McKelvey, published a manifesto for anti-gun politicians to “take back the Second Amendment.” Among their findings was “Only 8 percent of voters believe that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual’s right to own a gun.”

As a result, the now-defunct Americans for Gun Safety instructed anti-gun politicians to dissemble about supporting the Second Amendment: “progressives need not change their positions … The problem … on the gun issue has far less to do with the typical policies they espouse than the rhetoric they employ.”

Now back to The Washington Post story--the inside take on Bloomberg’s “gun control” operation complete with a “war room” run out of city offices, using city officials; coordinating with mayors of 451 taxpayer-run municipalities across the nation; and with big-time Washington lobbyists. The Post called it a “gymnastic lobbying effort, juiced by Bloomberg’s wealth …”.

The Post built its story around the back-room political machine built by Bloomberg for the long-haul attack on the Second Amendment. The emphasis of the story was on Bloomberg’s slim two-vote margin to stop enactment of the concealed-carry reciprocity amendment introduced by U.S. Senators John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana.

The Post found brilliance in the strategy of Bloomberg’s mercenary lobbyists and public relations hired-guns to couch the concealed-carry debate in terms of trampling “states’ rights.” Coming from Bloomberg, who demands draconian universal bans and works to drive out of business gun dealers across the nation through lawsuits or threats of suits filed in Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court, legislators must have been choking back laughter.

According to The Washington Post, a key to Bloomberg’s strategy was: “They sought to position themselves as believers in the Second Amendment.”

“Sought to position.” That’s posing. For Bloomberg’s meaning, look no further than his government’s harassment of a citizen for having the effrontery to own an exquisite replica of a Revolutionary War-era flintlock rifle in New York City. The mayor won’t allow it--not without fingerprints, a mug shot and a city license. He is in full tantrum mode, with city police investigating the flintlock owner, in spite of the clarity of the law exempting such an arm.

Not only are the police, on orders from “higher-ups,” harassing the owner, they also reportedly drove to Tennessee to investigate and harass the gunmaker. So much for states’ rights.

A flintlock--the symbol of our revolution against tyranny. There is no firearm Bloomberg would not ban or highly restrict. This is his end game.

The Senate battle opposing Right-to-Carry reciprocity was a Bloomberg operation from the get-go, according to the Post. Combine all of the media hype, Bloomberg’s personal funds, questionable use of taxpayer resources for his personal gun-ban machine, and the best they could produce was 39 votes.

The final vote, 39 for Bloomberg and 58 for gun owners, isn’t the big victory over which the gun ban crowd and the media are chest-beating. The only reason the Thune-Vitter amendment didn’t pass was because it needed 60 votes--to overcome a filibuster by Bloomberg’s partner, New York Senator Chuck Schumer. Had this been a normal majority vote, Bloomberg and the media would be whining about the power of the gun lobby.

For Bloomberg, everything boils down to money--mostly his money. In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host David Gregory announced Bloomberg has personally spent $2.9 million for his gun-ban lobby, and asked:

“Will you personally put more money in?” To which Bloomberg bragged:

“Oh, I’m going to not only do that myself, I’m going to ask plenty of other people to do it. If you want to beat the NRA … it costs money to do that. And that’s all we’re trying to do.”

Who are these “other people?” Billionaires like real estate magnate Eli Broad--who The Washington Post reported ponied up $750,000; and try the Joyce Foundation--which funds the Violence Policy Center’s radical agenda. It kicked in $1.1 million to Bloomberg’s machine.

This is billionaires versus the people. The power of personal and foundation wealth versus freedom.

That’s what this is all about; and it will define the future battles over the exercise of the Second Amendment.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.