By Larry Keane
New York Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is attempting to claw his way up from the bottom of the 2020 Presidential polls by promising to pack the Supreme Court with “pro-gun control judges” if he were elected president.
In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, the anti-gun former NYC mayor described his fear that the Supreme Court would do the worst possible thing he could think of. He’s afraid the justices would dare to vote to uphold God-given rights enshrined in the Constitution and rule in favor of pro-Second Amendment voices in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. The City of New York. Bloomberg says that the law at the center of the case, which prevented New Yorkers from transporting their legally purchased firearms outside the home unless it was to one of seven gun ranges in the city, was an “unnecessary restriction” and that it was “rightly rescinded.”
While these words certainly ring true, anyone who is familiar with Bloomberg’s history of anti-gun actions and rhetoric should see these statements as a disingenuous attempt to sell himself as a moderate who wants only “commonsense gun reforms.” In reality, Bloomberg’s opinion on firearms, and on those who own them, represent the antithesis to the right to bear arms.
Before you even consider the ex-mayor’s policy stances one need only see that in a 2014 interview with Rolling Stone, Bloomberg was quoted saying “If you want to have a gun in your house, I think you’re pretty stupid — particularly if you have kids — but I guess you have a right to do that.” The idea that someone who is running for president could be this ignorant about our constitutional rights and is also promising to appoint justices who reflect this line of thinking should truly be cause for concern for every single American.
Bloomberg’s op-ed concludes with him saying that “As president, I will appoint judges who understand that the Second Amendment allows for common sense limits on gun ownership.” Yet we all know that what he views as “common sense” is anything but. Bloomberg wants to ban the sale and production of modern sporting rifles even though he himself admits that these firearms are used in a statistically insignificant number of crimes. NSSF recently reported that more than 17.7 million modern sporting rifles are in private ownership today, clearly a commonly-owned firearm.
He also ferociously opposes national concealed carry reciprocity, which would ensure that an American’s right to protect him or herself doesn’t end at the state line. In fact, Bloomberg’s campaign against concealed carry reciprocity has been active for years through his gun control organization Everytown, which promised to spend up to $25 million in the 2018 election cycle to defeat elected officials who supported reciprocity.
Of course, Bloomberg also supports a slew of other Second Amendment restrictions. Bloomberg gun control-wish list includes requiring every gun buyer be issued a Department of Justice-endorsed permit to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms, enacting a federal age-based gun ban for adults under 21, repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that blocks baseless lawsuits intended to bankrupt the gun industry and banning the private transfer of firearms.
All of these positions surely disqualify Bloomberg from earning the vote of any Second Amendment supporter, but the idea that he wants to pack the Supreme Court with justices who see these concepts as “commonsense” represents a very real threat to our constitution. A candidate for president that already has shown a preference of reshaping the nation’s highest court with judges who seek not to use the law as a guide to decision making but rather to legislate from the bench is clearly no friend to any American, but especially to law-abiding gun owners.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.