New York City Mayor Michael "Nanny" Bloomberg, he of the smooth hands and Nurse Ratched smirk, made international headlines with his selective war on smokers. Now, Bloomberg and the city's ruling class are preparing to "cure" the Big Apple of another politically incorrect constituency: ordinary gun owners.
Last week, Democrat City Councilwoman Gale Brewer introduced a resolution calling on the Republican National Committee "to repudiate the irresponsible and dangerous policies of the National Rifle Association," i.e., supporting the constitutional right of individuals to bear arms and defend their lives, family and property. Resolution 11 also proclaims that the city council "objects to the presence of the National Rifle Association at the 2004 Republican National Convention" (to be held in New York City in August) and demands that the RNC "denounce the intolerant and inflammatory comments made by members of the NRA leadership that are offensive to many communities that bring to the City the diversity that ensures its vibrancy."
Taking her marching orders from the anti-gun lobby, Brewer is making a brouhaha over the individual opinions of NRA board members on everything from assimilation to urban crime to the Clinton-Reno raid on Waco. The supposedly damning quotes -- Florida-based board member Marion Hammer notes that "owning a gun is not a crime"; national board member Jeff Cooper argues that Americans "ought to choose assimilation over diversity"; provocateur/rocker Ted Nugent says he will wear the Confederate flag "forever" -- have been compiled on a Web site sponsored by the increasingly desperate Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
So what does Republican In Name Only Mayor Bloomberg think of all this? He told New York magazine that all of the NRA leaders' comments were "reprehensible." In an interview with New York radio station WLIB on Tuesday, he basically gave rank-and-file gun owners the bird. Reacting to the announcement by two leading national gun rights organizations, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) and the Second Amendment Foundation, that they have cancelled plans to hold their 20th annual conference in New York City as a result of the mayor's condemnation, Bloomberg scoffed: "They're worried about the Second Amendment rather than the First." (The First Amendment apparently not applying to those who advocate the Second.)
Nanny Bloomberg continued: "I am against people carrying guns. Guns kill people. One of the great scourges we have in the city is that too many people are carrying guns."
So will the gun-phobic mayor be revoking the concealed-carry permits of the city's rich and famous any time soon? Licensed gun-toters in New York City include record executive Tommy Mottola, liberal actors Steven Seagal and Robert De Niro, talk show bigwigs Howard Stern and Don Imus, and gazillionaires Winthrop Rockefeller and Donald Trump.
While these well-connected gun owners are free to walk the streets without fear, nestled in their gated communities and surrounded by bodyguards, it is average citizens who suffer the most from the gun-control paternalism of the elite. Remember Lester Campbell, the 80-year-old man from the Bronx who fought back with his unlicensed .38-caliber handgun when a mugger beat him and stole his $262 Social Security check last year? The assailant fled; the city charged Campbell with two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
What about Jose Acosta, the 69-year-old bodega clerk jailed for using his .22-caliber unregistered handgun to kill an armed thug who attempted to rob his Harlem grocery store? Punished for protecting his life and livelihood, this hard-working, law-abiding legal immigrant from the Dominican Republic is among untold victims of a system that subjects businesses and individuals to Byzantine, insurmountable gun-permit regulations while criminals romp.
Mohamed Dramy, another bodega worker, followed Bloomberg's utopian vision. He was totally helpless, with no weapon in sight, when a gang of thieves broke into his Harlem deli grocery last year. The end result? He was gunned down in cold blood and died behind his checkout counter.
The message from New York City to Second Amendment supporters is clear: Drop dead.
Isn't it time for gun-owning entrepreneurs, tourists and voters to fire back -- and take their business elsewhere?