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Where's The Cotton Candy? Bloomberg Takes Anti-Gun Sideshow On The Road

Friday, February 18, 2011

No one can say that New York City mayor and anti-gun gadfly Michael Bloomberg doesn't support getting Americans back to work -- at least those who don't operate snow removal equipment in New York City. But those who are concerned about global warming may take issue with how he's going about it. During an interview with ABC-TV's George Stephanopolous this week, Bloomberg announced he has hired a driver to tour the country in a large, fossil-fuel-burning truck, towing a billboard that other Bloomberg jobbers have covered with a poster or paint job claiming that 34 people are murdered with guns each day.

Implying that there is a single solution to the entire problem of criminal gun use, the billboard refers onlookers to Bloomberg's www.fixgunchecks.org website, which urges that federal law "require a background check for every gun sale in America."

To be honest, Bloomberg's job stimulus package could go even further. He could re-hire the people who gussied up his billboard to do so again -- but to get the facts straight this time:

* According to data reported by the FBI in December of last year, the average number of people murdered with guns each day is 26, not 34.

* The number may be even smaller than 26, because the FBI's figures are based upon police reports, which do not (and, realistically, cannot) reflect the final disposition of cases in the judicial system. Criminologist Gary Kleck has concluded that between six and 13 percent of firearm-related homicides reported as murders by the FBI are self-defense homicides.

* Bloomberg's incorrect "34" claim, which appeared on the left side of the billboard during the ABC story, deals only with only one side of the story. If Bloomberg were interested in being fair, the right side of the billboard would note the number of lives saved because of gun ownership by non-criminals. On that question, Prof. Kleck has written that "available evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that civilian ownership and defensive use of guns deter violent crime and reduce burglar-linked injuries." Among other studies supporting that conclusion, Kleck noted the landmark Wright-Rossi study of imprisoned felons, conducted as part of a multi-subject study for the National Institute of Justice, which determined that 40 percent of felons had decided not to commit one or more crimes, out of fear that their prospective victims were armed.

* Kleck has also concluded from a study of National Crime Victimization Survey data that "[R]obbery and assault victims who used a gun to resist were less likely to be attacked or to suffer an injury than those who used any other methods of self-protection or those who did not resist at all," possibly preventing themselves or others from being added to the FBI's annual murder victim tally.

Bloomberg also pretends that all murders committed with guns could be prevented by requiring a NICS check on "every gun sale in America." After all, Bloomberg's own "Blueprint for Federal Action on Illegal Guns" notes that 150,000 guns were stolen in 2008, it proposes that BATFE require dealers -- all of whom are already required to submit gun customers to NICS checks -- to report multiple sales of [long] guns, and it notes that straw purchasers -- who could pass a NICS check for a non-dealer gun purchase just as easily as they already do for purchases from dealers -- continue to account for a large share of guns that end up in criminals' hands. Bloomberg even says on his gun control group's website that of guns used to commit murder, "most of them are purchased or possessed illegally."

Bloomberg's billboard truck is reminiscent of the New York City "Death Clock," placed in Times Square by the founder of a brokerage firm in New Jersey. Praised by anti-gun newspapers around the country, the clock was removed the following year, not long before a federal district judge ruled that the individual and his firm had "conducted 'a massive and continuing fraud on its customers, and issued a $71.5 million civil fraud judgment against them.'"

Despite his obsession with telling America what he thinks about a wide variety of issues, Bloomberg told ABC that he had no plans to run for president in 2012. But that may be as truthful as the claims made on his truck.

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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.