- - Monday, July 14, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Fresh from a losing legal battle with the Big Gulp, Mike Bloomberg is back on another quixotic crusade. The billionaire is pledging $50 million to Democrats willing to take up his scourging of guns. Now that he’s no longer New York City’s mayor, he is desperate to find a way to stay relevant.

Mr. Bloomberg rode in to town last week with his Everytown for Gun Safety posse, which he has formed as a replacement for his Mayors Against Illegal Guns. So many mayors ended up arrested for drunken driving, bribery, assault and even crimes against children that nobody showed up for the meetings. It was time for a change.

The “new” Everytown for Gun Safety will mimic the National Rifle Association’s campaign strategy, rating incumbents and challengers based on answers to gun-control questionnaires. He will send the questionnaires to candidates for state and federal office, and either support or oppose them, depending on the answers.

“For too long,” John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown, told The Hill, the Capitol Hill political journal, “candidates running for office have only heard from the gun lobby.”

When Everytown sends its questionnaires to endangered red- and purple-state Democrats up for re-election in November, most of them will wisely mark it “return to sender, address unknown.”

To be seen embracing Mr. Bloomberg’s agenda of seizing guns would be poison for the likes of Democratic Senate incumbents Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark L. Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Kay R. Hagan of North Carolina, as well as for much-ballyhooed red-state Democratic challengers, such as Michelle Nunn of Georgia, Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky and Natalie Tennant of West Virginia.

Bad luck for Mr. Bloomberg. His announcement followed the bloody Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, when 82 persons were shot, 14 of them fatally. Death took a partial holiday this past weekend, with “only” 4 killed and 29 wounded. This was in a town with no gun stores and where every item on Mr. Bloomberg’s gun-control wish list has been enacted.

Slowly but surely, however, gun rights are being restored to Chicagoans. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois last week ordered the city to pay the NRA just under $1 million for the legal fees the organization incurred in its successful challenge to Chicago’s ordinance banning gun sales within the city limits.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson even cited the Chicago violence as an ever-so-gentle rebuke of President Obama’s request to Congress for nearly $4 billion to deal with the recent surge of illegal aliens, mostly children and some of them only 4 or 5 years old, streaming across the southern border.

“If we can find $4 billion for those children … we can find $2 billion for Chicago,” Mr. Jackson said of combating violence there. “There are more children involved, and more have been killed, and more have been shot.” Given the president’s reluctance to negotiate on amnesty, Mr. Jackson might have more success calling Everytown for Gun Safety to ask for some of Mr. Bloomberg’s money.

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