The NRA vs. Bloomberg's Gun Control Coalition

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Listen to a report on Morning Edition:

The National Rifle Association has seriously disliked Mayor Michael Bloomberg ("the antigun billionaire") for a while now, but it's only in the last couple months that it's actually tried to mobilize its members--millions of them--against Bloomberg and Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). Many NRA members received orange mailers urging them to force mayors out of MAIG. The campaign resulted in several dozen mayors quitting.

I wondered why so, a few weeks ago, I drove out to Pennsylvania, which easily has more members of MAIG than any other state (about 150 out of 526 total members). It also happens to be home to a lot of NRA members. And there's a special interstate subtext at play: Mayor Bloomberg and the city have accused Pennsylvania of having lax gun laws, and allowing crime guns to easily flow into New York. For a lot of Pennsylvania's gun owners, them's fightin' words.

I drove to Coopersburg, home of the Ridge and Valley Rod and Gun Club. There, I was greeted by a group of men who eyed me warily and wondered what exactly my motives were. What did I think of Mayor Bloomberg? Would I twist their words? Had I ever shot a gun before? With that last question I made the mistake of saying yes, I'd once shot a BB gun as a kid--that actually didn't reassure them at all. But then they served me some iced tea and we got to talking.

As it turns out, the mayor of Coopersburg is a member of MAIG, but only one of the men at the club had reached out to him. The rest of the men seemed less bothered with their own mayor than with the mayor of New York, who they think is spending millions of dollars of his own money to export his East Coast brand of gun control.

At times this got the men riled up: They said they could bring the entire force of their thousand-member-strong gun club against MAIG. Imagine the political force they'd become, one of them said. But sometimes they just sounded helpless and frustrated. They worry that President Obama is just waiting for the right moment before he unveils a major anti-gun initiative. For the time being, they think the president is simply laying low, while conspiring with Mayor Bloomberg. Why, they wonder, can't people recognize how much safer guns make us, and how little gun laws can do to stop actual criminals?

After talking for about an hour, they asked me--strongly encouraged me--to come shoot with them. Out at the range, I encountered all sorts of weapons: AK47s, an old-fashioned long rifle, pistols with silencers, and heavily-customized AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. One of the men said he occasionally brings a machine gun. I ended up shooting the AR-15 while wearing a sound-deadening set of headphones (although I probably lost some of my hearing in the brief span that I wasn't wearing them). It was, I must say, a lot of fun. The men were happy that I got to shoot with them--their real fear was that I'd just get my quotes, without understanding the pleasure of gun ownership and the inherent responsibilities.

As for that NRA campaign against Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg says 71 mayors have quit MAIG since the campaign. But another 150 have joined in the same time period.

Rest assured, the NRA has more to come.

Ridge and Valley Rod and Gun Club
Former policeman Mark Epstein
AR-15 semiautomatic owned by Rick Hubrich
Rick Hubrich, a gunsmith
Bob Hermida, member of the Ridge and Valley Rod and Gun Club


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Comments [6]

chesty puller

get a life bloom bet i could out shoot you for 3million bills take you on any time any wear you want

Nov. 28 2009 04:10 AM
Paul I. Adujie

Mayor Bloomberg ‘s coalition of Mayors against illegal guns, and other gun control advocates have been winning elections and this annoys the NRA. Mayor Bloomberg has reportedly spent more than $3 million dollars of his own money to curb gun proliferation and he should be applauded for his courageous efforts. Crime reduction in New York City is proof and a benefit which have arisen from these concerted efforts. Sadly though, President Obama, Mayor Bloomberg and other political leaders in favor of gun control laws, are being portrayed by the NRA, as a threat to fundamental rights of some sorts, the right to own instruments of death, and instrument of violence! The NRA is nervous, and they should be! But their actions which is motivated by their discomforts at the prospect of good gun control laws, is really a disservice to all Americans. A spike in the spate of gun violence in recent years, makes gun control and an imperative for America.

America does not need another Columbine High School type shootings. America does not need another Virginia Tech University massacre. Why do we need another Binghamton type massacres and why do we need another Fort Hood type massacres? Why do some persist in the so-called constitutional right to peddle this instrument of death? In the face of these massacres, it is a case of imbecilic infantilism for some Americans to continue to insist on gun ownership, as owning guns is similar to having food and shelter or such essentials of life.

Guns are not essential to life. Guns are not life’s essentials in modern day America. Guns are worse than useless to American lives. Guns are, in real terms, actual threats to thousands of lives in America, year in, year out. The “right” to own instruments of death, should be reexamined in the face of gun deaths, pervasive gun violence and the national crises spurned by the phenomena of too many guns in too many American hands. Enough!

Nov. 25 2009 12:31 PM
WNYC - WNYC News Blog » Day of Outrage Calle

[...] « The NRA vs. Bloomberg’s Gun Control Coalition [...]

Nov. 23 2009 02:31 PM
WNYC Article on MAIG | Snowflakes in Hell

[...] UPDATE: Video here. [...]

Nov. 23 2009 11:01 AM

What a bunch of Gorp! Propaganda, pure and simple, in support of *The Brady Bunch*. And, I am not an NRA member, just a concerned gun owner.

Nov. 23 2009 10:48 AM

to reduce violence, first shut down all Pro fotball and college football, the most violent of all.

Nov. 23 2009 10:31 AM

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