Mike Bloomberg is a saint in his own mind (nowhere else matters). “I have earned my place in heaven,” the billionaire ex-mayor told The New York Times. He thinks he’s buying an indulgence with the $50 million he says he will spend this year to support politicians who think like he does on gun control.
This is hardly a new calling for the founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Mr. Bloomberg has backed hundreds of candidates who tremble at the thought of a gun, yet the more money he spends the more his anointed people lose. In Virginia last year, Mr. Bloomberg targeted 67 pro-gun state delegates for defeat. When Election Day came to a close, 65 of his candidates had stepped up with concession speeches.
He had an even more humiliating loss when the people of Colorado rebelled against a new gun-control law. Two of the state senators most responsible for the law were recalled, even though they had a $4 million war chest to protect them — a remarkable sum for anyone to spend on a state Senate race. A third anti-gun lawmaker resigned to avoid facing a recall vote.
Naturally, such losses are never about bad candidates running on a bad platform. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the convenient bogeyman, responsible for everything bad that happens, though the NRA spends far less than the billionaire ex-mayor. The NRA will spend $20 million this year, compared to Mr. Bloomberg’s $50 million. The gun lobby wins because it has 5.3 million members and the support of a majority of Americans who don’t want their constitutional rights infringed. That’s true in Mr. Bloomberg’s home state, too.
The deadline passed on Tuesday for owners of “assault weapons” to register themselves and their guns under the New York Safe Act, and the bureaucrats avoid saying how many have complied with the law. Officials know what a public relations disaster it would be to concede that 1 in 10 gun owners, by some estimates, thumbed their nose at the law. They see registration as a precursor to confiscation, a clear infringement on their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
So does the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, which says it won’t enforce the law. “Sheriffs understand their constitutional obligations and the concerns of constituents,” the association says. “Sheriffs and other law enforcement officers are not called upon by this new legislation to go door-to-door to confiscate any weapons newly classified as assault weapons, and will not do so.”
In Connecticut, a registration law became effective in January, and an estimated 300,000 otherwise law-abiding citizens instantly became lawbreakers for failing to enroll in the state government registry. On Tuesday, the state filed the first charges under the law, against a 65-year-old man for failure to register a rifle with cosmetic features that frighten gun-control advocates.
A police officer found the weapon when he searched the man’s house in Milford during the investigation of the shooting of a squirrel. The homeowner was charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to animals, reckless endangerment, breach of the peace, failure to register an assault weapon and possession of three usual-capacity rifle magazines.
New York’s Safe Act, like all gun-control efforts, is advertised not as a means of attaining eternal salvation, as Mr. Bloomberg says he has, but to save lives here on this mortal earth. So far these draconian measures have only been proven effective in saving the lives of squirrels, pests though the little critters are.