Monday, February 06, 2012

Super Bowl ad: NYC Mayor Bloomberg markets gun control

With little political capital to lose and millions of his own cash to spend, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is determined to check the role of guns in American society.

A 30-second Super Bowl ad featuring Mr. Bloomberg on a couch with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will go a long way toward cementing Bloomberg as the king of gun control as the billionaire turns from attacking transfats and smoking to cracking down on illicit sales of firearms, too many of which he says end up in the hands of violent criminals.

“Mike Bloomberg is the only major political figure for whom gun control is a front-burner cause right now,” says University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds.

Since 9/11 and the 2004 sun-setting of the assault weapons ban, courts, legislatures and public opinion have bit-by-bit turned toward the expansion of the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms. That trend has been exacerbated by the Obama presidency, a sense of economic insecurity, and lingering worries about the decline of Western civilization and American ideals like individual liberty, says Brian Anse Patrick, a communications professor at the University of Toledo.

The boom in the number of Americans who have concealed carry permits, for example, hasn't come in the nation's rural, gun friendly reaches, but in cities, exurbs, and suburbs, where women often make up a significant portion of permit-seekers, Mr. Patrick says.

It's in part that spread of gun culture into major cities that inspired Bloomberg to join with Mayor Menino to launch Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), which has hired private investigators to reveal how easily weapons move through gun shows in places like Arizona and Tennessee and end up as illegal guns in cities like New York and Boston.

Given the fact that three-termer Bloomberg can't by law run for mayor again, and that he has a $19 billion personal fortune, his emergence as a major gun control advocate has a lot to do with his independence. Democrats, including President Obama, have largely laid off proposing new gun restrictions in order to stave off attacks on conservative Blue Dog Democrats supported by gun lobbies like the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Given the power of national and state gun rights organizations to confront politicians who attempt to restrict Second Amendment rights, Bloomberg's anti-gun stance would make a presidential run, which he has considered, difficult.

Whether Bloomberg can make a dent in how Americans perceive the role of the gun in society is also still very much a question, though his Super Bowl ad certainly raises the stakes. The ad will show in the local New York and Boston markets, largely liberal enclaves where laws and authorities still do more to discourage gun ownership than encourage it.

More here

TX: Poker game shootout kills 1, injures 3: "An argument during a poker game in north Harris County ended in a shootout early today, leaving one man dead and three more hurt, KRTK reports. The incident began in a house on Varnell near Northington when a disruptive poker player was asked to leave. According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, there was a gathering of people at the home while a poker game was going on. Witnesses told them the suspect started causing a problem, so several people asked him to leave and shoved him down the driveway. The suspect then went to his car, got a gun, came back and opened fire. Investigators said the gunman shot indiscriminately into the crowd of people, striking three men. The fight escalated when another person got his own pistol and started shooting back, officers said. The suspect got in an SUV and drove away. Deputies arrested him at a nearby gas station on Mount Houston at U.S. 59. He had been hit and is in critical condition, KTRK reports."

No comments: