The Rolling Stone Interview: Michael Bloomberg says he isn't afraid of the NRA, but should we be afraid of him?
In Colorado, we got a law passed. The NRA went after two or three state Senators in a part of Colorado where I don't think there's roads. It's as far rural as you can get. And, yes, they lost recall elections. I'm sorry for that. We tried to help 'em. But the bottom line is, the law is on the books, and being enforced. You can get depressed about the progress, but on the other hand, you're saving a lot of lives.But there are other bizarre claims that should be at least as controversial. Bloomberg isn't asking people just to lock up their guns, he clearly doesn't want people to own guns.
And if you want to have a gun in your house, I think you're pretty stupid – particularly if you have kids – but I guess you have a right to do that. Someday, there is going to be a suit against parents who smoke in their houses or have guns in their houses by a kid. It's not that far-fetched. . . .
guns are dangerous. The statistics are overwhelming. You're something like 22 times more likely to get killed in your home if you have a gun than if you don't. [Gestures at a staffer.] Let's say Amanda's trying to break in. "Excuse me, Amanda, I've gotta go get my gun to shoot you. Now, where did I put that combination to that lock? And the bullets were where? I don't know what the fuck…how do you turn the safety off?" Are you kidding me? The last thing you want to do when somebody breaks in and puts a gun toward you is try to go for a gun. That's really stupid. I don't know if you're going to get shot one way, but I guarantee you're going to get killed the other way.About the one thing that is right here is that locking up guns, especially the way that Bloomberg wants them locked up, makes it very difficult to use defensively. The claim about risks of guns in the home is based on completely bogus public health studies. A brief discussion on the problems with this claim is provided in my book "More Guns, Less Crime" (University of Chicago Press, 2010, 3rd edition).
In addition, requiring that people lock up guns or reduce gun ownership does two things: 1) more criminals are emboldened to break into people homes while the residents are in the dwelling and 2) they are more likely to be successful in committing a violent crime.
Whatever one thinks of the NRA, it is clear that Bloomberg's attack on them isn't very honest.
But the NRA takes no prisoners. Put yourself in the following scenario. You're a Senator or Congressman, a Democrat. I ask you to have background checks. You say, "Mike, I can't be with you on background checks, but my opponent, the Republican, is worse." What the NRA says is, "Babes, we don't care. We're going after you. We're going after your spouse and your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren. Long after you're dead, we'll still be going after you." It's hard to think these guys aren't cuckoo and wouldn't probably do it, when they say that. A rational person would consider all of my views before they make a vote – maybe he won't be happy with my gun position, but I'm so good on the others I'll probably still get his vote. But for the NRA that's not an option.First, we already have background checks and as far as I can tell the NRA isn't trying to get rid of them. The issue is a bill last year that Bloomberg supported and that bill included what many believed involved registration and would have affected the private transfer of guns.
Worse, this notion that the NRA appears to be just a smear. A tougher, objective questioner would have asked for a specific example to illustrate his claim, but Simon Vozick-Levinson wasn't interested in actually questioning him.