Trayvon Martin Shooting Prompts Mike Bloomberg To Tell America How To Handle Guns...Again
Mike Bloomberg wants to tell people in places like Texas what to do with their guns. Good luck with that, bub!
Despite his authority extending no further than the five boroughs of New York City, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is once again trying to dictate gun-control policies for the entire country.
In response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin -- an unarmed Florida teen gunned down by a trigger-happy wannabe cop earlier this year -- the mayor announced this afternoon that he and national African-American leaders are on a crusade to repeal Florida-esque "Shoot First" laws that currently are on the books in 25 states.
"Shoot First" laws -- or "Stand Your Ground" as it's known in Florida -- basically give gun owners carte blanche to shoot someone if they feel their life is in danger. If "life in danger" sounds vague, that's because it is -- and that's the problem with these types of laws.
We don't take issue with the mayor's desire to do away with "Shoot First" laws, it just seems as though it's not his job -- as the mayor of New York -- to tell other states what to do (yes, the announcement was made in an official press release from the mayor's office).
Not to mention, it's a pipe-dream to think the mayor of New York can march into places like Arizona and Texas and tell them how to regulate their firearms.
In any event, Bloomberg holds the National Rifle Association responsible for "Shoot First" laws across the country (click here to read about how the NRA has dumped more cash into New York state campaign coffers than it has anywhere else in the county).
From the mayor's press release:
"It's now clear: the NRA's 'shoot first' laws that have passed in 25 states have undermined the integrity of the justice system, and done serious harm to public safety," said Mayor Bloomberg. "They have sown confusion in police departments about when to make arrests, made it more difficult for prosecutors to bring charges in cases of deadly violence and, most importantly, they have been responsible for a major increase in so-called 'justifiable homicides.' These laws have not made our country safer; they have made us less safe and it's why we're launching a nationwide campaign to reform or repeal shoot first laws. The NRA's leaders weren't interested in public safety. They were interested in promoting a culture where people take the law into their own hands with a gun and face no consequences for it."
Bloomberg says "Shoot First" laws have led to an increase in justifiable homicides in several states where similar laws are on the books. He offers the following statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (which are flawed -- more on that below):
Florida cases increased from 12 per year to 36 per year (200 percent), comparing 5 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Texas cases increased from 26 per year to 45 per year (70 percent), comparing 3 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Arizona cases increased from 10 per year to 15 per year (49 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Kentucky cases increased from .5 per year to 6 per year (1,050 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Georgia cases increased from 7 per year to 14 per year (100 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Missouri cases increased from 3 per year to 7 per year (122 percent), comparing 3 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Michigan cases increased from 7 per year to 10 per year (36 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· Oklahoma cases increased from 5 per year to 7 per year (35 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law;
· South Carolina cases increased from 4 per year to 6 per year (57 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law; and
· Alaska cases increased from .25 per year to 1.75 per year (600 percent), comparing 4 years before and after passage of the shoot first law.
Bloomberg offers those statistics in an apparent attempt to show that "Shoot First" laws lead to more violence, which is wrong -- based on the statistics, anyway. What the mayor doesn't include in his press release is comparisons of all shooting fatalities in these states over the same time periods. In other words, based on Bloomberg's stats, there's no way to prove that "Shoot First" laws lead to more fatal shootings, or if it's just that some of the shootings are now labeled "justifiable homicide" instead of "murder" because the shooters are now protected by "Shoot First" laws.
All the mayor's stats prove is that more people are probably getting away with murder, not that "Shoot First" laws lead to an increase in violence.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.