Mike's Well-Armed Pal

Anti-gun Bloomberg buys ammo for pro-NRA Bruno

If you go there, you will see that much of it is dedicated to the mayor's rightful concerns about illegal guns. This past month, for instance, the mayor's main concern was Congress's cowardly failure to repeal legislation that bars law enforcement from sharing serial-number information on the guns used in crimes. Bloomberg got 225 mayors to sign an open letter to Congress about this measure, called the Tiahrt Amendment after the blockhead congressman from Kansas who attached this rider to the appropriations bill. "It is a stealth attack on law enforcement," Bloomberg said. "Give police access to the information they need to do their jobs."

"Hear, hear!" said a group of Democrats in the New York State Senate. They put together their own resolution, calling on their congressional colleagues to vote down the Tiahrt rider. Joe Bruno, majority leader, saw that it never made it to a vote.

"We try to raise these issues and—nothing," says Eric Schneiderman, a Democratic senator representing Manhattan and the Bronx who has sponsored numerous gun bills. "I couldn't even get it on the floor."

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Don't Bloomberg's enormous contributions help prod the majority leader on these issues? Not as far as legislators can see. "Bloomberg's financial relationship with Joe Bruno doesn't seem to extend to the mayor's pro-gun-control agenda," says State Senator Liz Krueger.

This year, the state's leading gun-control organization pushed for a bill that would obligate gun dealers to secure their inventories against theft, the same way jewelers lock up watches at night. It would also require that employees be trained to spot "straw buyers"—the illegal gun-buying tactic targeted by Bloomberg's headline-winning sting operations at gun shops down South.

"We thought after the Bucky Phillips incident that we might win this," says Jackie Kuhls of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. Ralph "Bucky" Phillips was the upstate fugitive who last year plundered a gun store and later shot and killed a state trooper and wounded two others. That bill also never made it to the floor of Bruno's senate.

This is how the NRA wants it. Bruno gets an "A" rating from the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, the state's NRA affiliate. Association president Ted King speaks with warmth of Bruno: "He knows the difference between a lawful gun owner and a criminal."

As for Bloomberg, King shrugs him off as inconsequential to his own line of work. "Michael Bloomberg knows exactly what he is doing. He is running for president."

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