I don’t know how many millions of dollars Michael Bloomberg is sitting on in his bank account – and frankly, it’s none of my business – but if he keeps blowing it at this pace, he may run the tank dry before too long. The king of all nanny state ideals is dumping another $12M into ad buys to pump up support for new anti-second amendment initiatives. But if you watch this latest, tug at your heartstrings, down home advertisement, there’s one thing conspicuously missing.
Determined to persuade Congress to act in response to that shooting, Mr. Bloomberg on Monday will begin bankrolling a $12 million national advertising campaign that focuses on senators who he believes might be persuaded to support a pending package of federal regulations to curb gun violence. The ads, in 13 states, will blanket those senators’ districts during an Easter Congressional recess that is to be followed by debate over the legislation.
In a telling sign of how much the white-hot demands for gun control have been tempered by political reality, Mr. Bloomberg’s commercials make no mention of an assault weapons ban once sought by the White House and its allies, instead focusing on the more achievable goal of universal background checks.
For all the talk I keep hearing from people like Joe Scarborough about how the NRA is “losing its power” and is “out of touch with real American gun owners,” it’s kind of odd that the ‘assault weapons” ban has essentially vanished from the radar. Having lost that battle, the push now turns to the hazy and potentially dangerous implementation of universal background checks and the creations of lists of Americans who have been convicted of no crime whatsoever who may still have their Second Amendment rights taken away.
The NRA is currently in talks with some of the wavering Senators, such as Joe Manchin, on this subject.
Republicans have been squeamish for a variety of reasons — namely over calls to require retailers to keep background check records.
But if the NRA stays neutral and decides not to “score” a vote for a Manchin plan on its annual scorecard, Manchin — and the overall bill — would have a much better chance.
Manchin, who calls himself a “proud West Virginia NRA member,” declined to discuss his negotiations with the group…
In a statement, Manchin added his efforts are “dedicated to preventing criminals and those adjudicated mentally ill from purchasing firearms, and not criminalizing law-abiding gun owners.”
While I don’t expect it to have any measurable effect on violence, there is probably some room for discussion on background checks if only for the sake of letting some of the middle-ground legislators make it look like they’re “doing something,” but Manchin needs to tread carefully. There should be nobody in Congress thinking about backing down until there are clear definitions on things such as who is keeping track of lists of gun owners and – perhaps more importantly – who will decide which people wind up on lists of people who will be denied during the course of a check. Manchin makes reference to two groups. One is “criminals” – presumably those already convicted of violent crimes. Well, it’s already illegal for them to buy guns, so this is yet another case of not needing new laws, but needing enforcement of laws already on the books.
The other category is far more troubling. Those who have been “adjudicated mentally ill” sounds great in a TV sound bite, as everyone’s minds immediately turn to the violently deranged, Manson wannabe locked up in a rubber room after trying to boil the neighbor’s cat. But how will they define which people cross that line and who will be making the determination on a case by case basis? If your wife dies and you lose your job and you go to a therapist for “depression” treatment, will you be on this list? And if you finish your mourning and get a new job next year and are feeling pretty good, can you get off that list? Again… if you have committed no crime beyond the normal failings of the human body and mind which can, from time to time, afflict many of us, will the government deem you “too dangerous” to enjoy all of your constitutionally assured rights?
Manchin needs to be very careful here, as do the rest of the DC denizens who will have this plan shoved onto their plates shortly. Gun grabbing proponents like to make fun of any “slippery slope” arguments regarding gun grabbing. But this is about the slickest slope we’ve seen yet.