Politics & Policy

Bloomberg: Guns for Me, but Not for Thee

Michael Bloomberg speaks during a press conference at his campaign office in Little Havana, Miami, Fla., March 3, 2020. (Marco Bello/Reuters)
His security detail packs plenty of firepower to protect him, but he doesn’t want you to have any guns at all.

‘How do you justify pushing for more gun control when you have an armed security detail that is likely equipped with the same firearms and magazines you seek to ban the common citizen from owning? Does your life matter more than mine or my family’s or these people’s?” a Virginian named Clarke Chitty asked Democratic Party presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg during a recent Fox News town hall.

It’s an outstanding question. And Bloomberg’s answer is pretty straightforward: Yes, his life is worth more than yours.

“Look, I probably get 40 or 50 threats every week, OK, and some of them are real. That just happens when you’re the mayor of New York City or you’re very wealthy and if you’re campaigning for president of the United States,” Bloomberg replied. “You get lots of threats. So, I have a security detail, I pay for it all myself, and . . . they’re all retired police officers who are very well trained in firearms.”

In the United States, our rights aren’t — or shouldn’t be — meted out according to status. But you’ll notice Bloomberg doesn’t really answer the question, anyway. I suspect millions of Americans who aren’t as famous or rich (very rich, in this case) live in situations in which their property and safety are threatened to the same extent. Not that it matters. Does Bloomberg propose that everyone undergo a government risk assessment before being allowed to practice constitutional rights?

Probably, right?

More importantly, Clarke Chitty, one suspects, has zero interest in stripping away Bloomberg’s constitutional right to own a firearm, or to hire professional armed bodyguards to protect him from legitimate threats. The former mayor of New York City, on the other hand, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in efforts to pass laws and regulations that would leave Americans like Clarke Chitty defenseless.

It’s this kind of arrogance that brought about District of Columbia v. Heller, the case affirming that the Second Amendment is an individual right. One of the first plaintiffs in that effort, Shelly Parker, was an African-American resident of Washington, D.C., who had gotten fed up with the crime near her Capitol Hill home. She attempted to rally her neighbors to clean up the neighborhood, provoking the ire of local drug dealers, who began vandalizing her property and threatening her life. “In the event that someone does get in my home,” she explained, “I would have no defense, except maybe throw my paper towels at them.” It would have been illegal for Parker, neither wealthy nor famous, to obtain a gun to protect herself. She was also in danger.

Or take Otis McDonald, the retired 76-year-old of McDonald v. City of Chicago, a case that affirmed that the right of individual gun ownership extended to the states. By 2010, the neighborhood McDonald had lived in since 1971 had become infested with gangs, drug dealers, and widespread criminality. His home had been broken into on five separate occasions, so he had a legitimate reason to worry about his safety. Someone like Bloomberg might have suggested that Otis keep some paper towels handy, but McDonald wanted a handgun. At the time, Chicago had a handgun ban in place, ensuring that only criminals could own them. I suspect that McDonald was in as much jeopardy as Bloomberg.

To top it off, Bloomberg then blatantly lied to the Fox crowd, claiming that “the Supreme Court said you can have reasonable restrictions, and the only restrictions which I am in favor of is to prevent us from selling guns to people with psychiatric problems, criminals, or people that are minors, OK?”

Not really. If Bloomberg had any practical hope of overturning the Second Amendment, he would certainly do it. As it is, Bloomberg bankrolls major anti-gun efforts that go much further policy-wise than keeping guns out of the hands of children and people with serious psychiatric problems — both of which are already illegal, and supported by nearly everyone.

Bloomberg, the presidential candidate, supports banning “assault weapons,” the most popular rifles in the country, which account for a sliver of the gun crimes in the country. Bloomberg supports stripping gun companies of “immunity” in civil lawsuits that would allow activists to hold manufacturers responsible for all criminality — a blatant attempt to put them out of business. Bloomberg supports “red flag” laws, which strip away due process for gun owners. Bloomberg supports raising the age of gun ownership from 18 to 21. Bloomberg supports federal efforts requiring every gun buyer to obtain a permit. Bloomberg wants to create a position for a federal gun czar to implement all these restrictions on the federal level. In other words, Bloomberg supports every single active effort to restrict gun ownership that exists.

Well for you, not him.

David Harsanyi is a senior writer for National Review and the author of First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History with the Gun

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