Mike Bloomberg is spending $12 million on attack ads designed to force U.S. senators to vote for national gun control laws that will supposedly save lives. However, the New York mayor’s commercials running in 13 states over the next two weeks could cause injury or death by showcasing irresponsible handling of a firearm.
Mr. Bloomberg’s organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, produced two ads featuring a man holding a shotgun, wearing plaid flannel with a camouflage cap and sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck. While a child swings on a tire in the background, the man says, “I support comprehensive background checks so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can’t buy guns.”
The ad does not specify if the man is an actor, but the text accompanying it says he is a “gun owner.” Either way, the man violates all three gun safety rules taught by the National Rifle Association (NRA). (Click here to see the ads.)
The first rule is to always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. In this case, the children are playing in the yard. Although the viewers can’t see what is to the side of the truck, the man should be pointing the muzzle in the air or at the ground.
The second NRA rule is always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
In the ad “Responsibility,” the man has his finger on the trigger, as if ready to shoot. While doing this, he says, “I believe in the Second Amendment, and I’ll fight to protect it. But with rights come responsibilities.” To make an ad demonstrating actual gun responsibility, the man would put a straight forefinger above the trigger guard to make sure he doesn’t accidentally touch the trigger.
The third NRA safety rule is always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. This means a situation in which the gun is available for immediate use — such as when hunting and a deer could step out at any time or when the firearm is safely stored but ready for quick self-defense as needed.
In the ad called “Family,” the man says that, “My dad taught me to hunt, and I’ll teach my kids. I’ve owned a gun all my life, and I’ll fight for my right to keep it.”
While saying this, he holds the pump-action shotgun with the action (bolt) closed, so it is impossible to know if it is loaded. To make this a demonstration of safety, the bolt would be wide open to demonstrate that it is unloaded.
A man who grew up hunting would know that by holding a shotgun straight horizontal, with the action closed and his finger on the trigger, he is committing all three cardinal sins of gun safety.
The dangerous ads are intended to pressure senators to get 60 votes for regulating private gun transactions, one of the measures the Senate take up when Congress returns from Easter recess. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, was supposed to be negotiated with Republicans, but instead a partisan bill was voted out of committee. Mr. Schumer said he will try to find consensus before the floor vote.
Lawmakers who support gun rights don’t easily divide along party lines. While most Republicans in Washington are pro-Second Amendment, some Democrats from rural or other pro-gun states support the right to keep and bear arms. So Mr. Bloomberg is directing his ire at both sides of the aisle.
Hizzoner believes that these Republicans might be willing to bow to the pressure from the attack ads: Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Dan Coats of Indiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Chuck Grassley of Iowa (who is the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee), Dean Heller of Nevada, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The Democrats getting whacked are Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
If Mr. Bloomberg is sincere in wanting to save lives, he should consider spending his billions on TV ads that showcase people demonstrating basic gun safety measures.