Bloomberg’s Gamble: Risking the Democratic Senate Majority for Gun Control

The NYC mayor has attacked vulnerable Democrats over gun control votes, possibly endangering the movement towards stricter federal gun control law.

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Seventeen months before Election Day, Arkansas Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor is already outraged at his opposition. “Disgusting,” he said in a statement released Friday, when a group funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought $350,000 in television time for an ad aimed at denying Pryor votes among the state’s heavily Democratic African American community.

Pryor isn’t the only one. Senate Democrats up and down the caucus, from West Virginia’s Joe Manchin to Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, have been trying to warn Bloomberg off his strategy of running ads that attack vulnerable Democrats over gun control votes. And it’s not because they disagree with what Bloomberg is after—a new law to require background checks for guns bought online or at gun shows. Rather, they think keeping the Senate in Democratic hands in 2014 is more important than any single Senator’s vote on guns.

As it now stands, Democrats have a six-vote cushion in the Senate, the result largely of Republican division and poor candidate selection. That cushion could easily be swept away in 2014. According to early handicapping, there are 13 Democratic seats at risk, and just two Republican seats. And the Democratic seats in play, in states like South Dakota, West Virginia and Arkansas, are in far greater danger of slipping away than the Republican seats in Georgia and Kentucky.

(MORE: Behind Bloomberg’s Gun-Buyer Background-Check Ad Blitz)

Bloomberg’s consultants, operating through a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, know this, but they don’t care. There aims are decidedly non-partisan, they say. Their goal is to establish a consequence for vulnerable members who vote against gun control, just as the National Rifle Association do to those who vote for stricter gun control measures. Mayors Against Illegal Guns wants a scalp, and Pryor, a Democrat up for reelection in a state that President Obama lost by 24 points, can’t afford to lose his base. “It is hard for me to imagine a combination of constituencies that would get Mark Pryor over the finish line if he doesn’t perform exceptionally well in the African American community,” said Mark Glaze, the public face of the Bloomberg group in an interview with the Associated Press.

The disagreement poses a dilemma for supporters of gun control for which there is no clear answer: Is it better to teach wavering Democrats that there is a cost to voting against gun control, even if it jeopardizes Democratic control of the Senate, which is needed to enact gun control? Or is it better to maintain Democratic Senate control even if it means that some red-state Democrats are more likely to vote against gun control to protect their right flank?

President Obama took a position on this question in April, when he declined to lean heavily, or publically call out, the four Democratic senators who voted to block the expansion of background checks. While pundits attacked him as a weak leader, unable to sit down Alaska Sen. Mark Begich for a stiff drink, White House aides spoke privately about the importance of maintaining a Democratic Senate majority in 2014.

(MORE: An Angry Obama Lashes Out After Gun Control Defeat)

Since then, however, Obama’s own political organization, Organizing for Action (OFA), has promised to bring pressure on the four defecting Democratic senators—Pryor, Begich, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Montana’s Max Baucus. Jon Carson, the head of OFA, has said his volunteers are less concerned about hurting the reelection chances of Democrats than getting a background check bill through Congress. In recent weeks, the group has held phone banks in Alaska, Arkansas and North Dakota to inform residents of their Democratic senators’ votes against more gun control. OFA volunteers have also protested outside Baucus’s office in Bozeman, even though Baucus has announced that he will not run for reelection after his term expires.

Pryor, meanwhile, has been trying to make the best of his situation, by joining in the evergreen strategy of attacking Bloomberg personally as a elitist carpetbagger. “I’ve gotten a lot of questions about NYC Mayor gun ad,” Pryor wrote in a tweet last month. “My response? I don’t take gun advice from the Mayor of NYC. I listen to Arkansans.”

After tweets like that, it will be difficult for Pryor to reverse himself if background check expansion comes up for another vote this year, without looking like he is caving to his New York foe—another consequence of the New York mayor’s take-no-prisoners strategy.

MORE: Gun Bill’s Prospects Dim as Senate Struggles with Background Checks

669 comments
bloodraven187
bloodraven187

im pro second amendment and pro abortion before the 2nd trimester, for steam cell research. does that make me a freak??

Physics
Physics

All this about controlling guns when there is a much larger threat. Each year over 400,000 die each year. Killed by the most notorious of things. Slipping, tripping, and falling all because of gravity. This menace attacks all living things and even inanimate objects at any chance it gets causing injury and death. Every time you drop your phone, its gravity. Every time a vase falls off a window ledge it is gravity.

End the TERROR, ban gravity. #DamnyouGravity

JohnSmith17
JohnSmith17

Bloomberg’s consultants, operating through a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns

"Mayors Against Illegal Guns" is a phoney group funded BY Bloomberg....it started out with just a few of his henchmen, and LOTS of his cash. 

But yet when the media mentions the "NRA" they fail to mention that this organization is made up of MILLIONS of ordanary citizens, not a few hundred elitists like Bloomberg's!!

As for 'sensible' gun laws, every time the anti-gunners write one up they try to turn it into either a national registration, or a huge gun grab, it is never what it is advertised to be by their propaganda machine....in other words they are all a lying bunch of trash that can't be trusted.



SpikeLee
SpikeLee

"After tweets like that, it will be difficult for Pryor to reverse himself if background check expansion comes up for another vote this year, without looking like he is caving to his New York foe—another consequence of the New York mayor’s take-no-prisoners strategy."

Nope, it's easy.  A listening tour will allow him to change his mind: "Seventy-one percent of Georgia voters, 67 percent of Tennessee voters and 60 percent of Arkansas voters supported expanded background checks."

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/gun-background-checks-poll-georgia-tennessee-arkansas-92002.html#ixzz2Uu1MN4S6

Mickey assumed that most of us Appalachian and Ozark folk were rednecks.  Well, we are, but that doesn't mean that it should be easy to arm wife beaters, for instance.

aztecian
aztecian

it's arkansas...mark pryor is a good ol'boy redneck.  in his hood, it is all about jesus and ar15s...what do you expect?

ErnieZippreplat
ErnieZippreplat

Proud member of the NRA and will always vote against these anti-gunners!

mrsatyre
mrsatyre

Isn't it amazing how many Mayors Against Illegal Guns have been arrested and convicted of major crimes from assault with a deadly weapon to fraud and kidnapping? Then these same mayors are removed from the MAIG website as if they never existed, and all knowledge of them disavowed. Meanwhile, Bloomberg continues to surround himself with armed guards. Meanwhile, Bloomberg continues to betray the constitution he swore to uphold by denying law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves from domestic threats such as an overbearing and increasingly anti-civil rights government. Mr. Bloomberg, you're already mayor of one of the most powerful cities on the planet; how much power do YOU really want? What is it about law-abiding citizens being able to defend themselves against criminals with the same tools as used by corrupt state and local officials that bothers you? What is it about police who can't hit the broadside of a barn, but instead shoot innocent bystanders, police who engage in cannibalistic fantasies, police that are encouraged to racially profile and illegally stop and search young blacks on the street that comforts you? You, sir, need to see a psychologist. Oh, wait. Those are the same psychologists who vetted the inept and immoral police that surround you.

BJ1017
BJ1017

My opinion about gun control is that it is illogical and I personally believe it is immoral.

It is illogical because criminals are the least likely people to obey laws, so they will simply break them to obtain the guns they want. If someone has no problem with breaking the law to kill someone, then they will have no problem breaking the law to buy a gun. Even if the government can miraculously stop them from getting guns, how can the government stop them from from using other weapons like explosives or knives?

I also feel it is immoral for someone to be put behind bars for owning a gun. If someone has a gun and has  no intention of hurting someone, their life should not be ruined by being convicted of a felony.  That is totally wrong and immoral.  Jail is for people who inflict harm on others, not for people who own  a certain type of weapon the state decides is not "safe'. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@mrsatyre It would be even more amazing if you could actually list them without making unfounded assertions. On the other hand a former gun runner of illegal weapons to Iran currently sits on the NRA board of directors(Ollie North).

HansLee
HansLee

@BJ1017 Also, where are you getting this information about the government jailing people for owning guns? There are ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF THIS and this will never happen in United States of America. Hello, we are not a totalitarian fascist regime here

HansLee
HansLee

@BJ1017"If someone has no problem with breaking the law to kill someone, then they will have no problem breaking the law to buy a gun." According to your logic then, what is the point of having laws at all if there will always be people to break them? Why bother create laws against stealing, murder, or rape if there will always be thieves and murderers and rapists?

firemedic1200
firemedic1200

Uh, you are dumb, and wrong. He sold illegal Iranian oil and used the proceeds to arm the Contras. Read your history before you open your piehole.

outsider
outsider

@mantisdragon91 @mrsatyre 


Ah, let the crazy be crazy - you can't convince them with logic, bud. 

Though you are fighting the good fight, and it's kind of fun to watch them sputter in response. 

JohnSmith17
JohnSmith17

@HansLee @BJ1017  Because owning a 'certain type' of gun is a LOT different than violence against another person.

Why is liquor legal and pot is not? What is the MORAL difference? 

During prohibition people were locked up, but 13 years later, it's legal again....so what is the logic to that?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@HansLee @BJ1017 Tell me, when has making a certain type of object illegal worked? Alcohol prohibition was an epic failure. The war on drugs is another colossal failure. The reason this is the case is because it's so difficult to enforce.  How can the state prevent someone from buying a gun illegally of the black market?  They can't. It's just too easy to find loopholes and find ways to bypass the laws. The end result is the criminals are as dangerous as ever, and law abiding citizens are the ones who get punished.




JohnSmith17
JohnSmith17

@mantisdragon91@firemedic1200 The FACT is that the Regan administration destroyed a LOT of evidence, in spite of that, 11 people were convicted...some were vacated on appeal, and ALL the rest were pardoned by George Bush...

It's like a big club...the same people swirl around the critical positions in DC....

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@firemedic1200If you are calling some one dumb, perhaps you may want to check your facts first.

In 1985, while Iran and Iraq were at war, Iran made a secret request to buy weapons from the United States. McFarlane sought Reagan's approval, in spite of the embargo against selling arms to Iran. McFarlane explained that the sale of arms would not only improve U.S. relations with Iran, but might in turn lead to improved relations with Lebanon, increasing U.S. influence in the troubled Middle East. Reagan was driven by a different obsession. He had become frustrated at his inability to secure the release of the seven American hostages being held by Iranian terrorists in Lebanon. As president, Reagan felt that "he had the duty to bring those Americans home," and he convinced himself that he was not negotiating with terrorists. While shipping arms to Iran violated the embargo, dealing with terrorists violated Reagan's campaign promise never to do so. Reagan had always been admired for his honesty.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/reagan-iran/

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee The drone war is a necessary evil. The only option is to invade the countries in question. What is hypocritical is you defending holding people accountable for their decisions to buy lethal weapons. As I've said you want a gun go for it, But if you don't secure it properly or fail to report its loss deal with the repercussions. What kind of a fool would see that as immoral or unreasonable?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee I'm sure they don't care. More importantly there is nothing immoral in holding people accountable for their actions. You want to own a firearm go for it. But keep it secure and report immediately if you should lose it. If you aren't mature enough to do that, than why should you be trusted with a lethal weapon?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee You are aware of whats going on? Good for you. So you seem to know more than the police and residents of the areas affected who are the ones pushing for these laws?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee Wow, well I totally disagree with you. If someone is ignorant or careless they shouldn't have to suffer in jail. And I believe it is wrong for the government to harshly punish that person.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee If my mother or father is responsible for allowing guns to end up in the hands of killers, I'll happily jail them myself. Too many times people have used the I had my gun stolen or lost excuse to cover up for straw purchases. Gun lost or stolen report it or deal with the consequences. If you don't know where your gun is at all times, perhaps you shouldn't have one to begin with.

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee No, the city does not have the right to give out harsh sentences to people who have not harmed someone. They are the ones dictating their beliefs, and if you don't follow their beliefs they throw you in jail. 

What if someone is unaware or forgets law and doesn't report his or her gun stolen or lost after 48 hours? Are you okay with that person(who could be somebody's  mother or father )being put in jail?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee Why would you own an illegal gun if you don't plan on hurting someone? The city has a right to protect its citizens. Don't like it move elsewhere. Unless you live in the city you have no stake in the matter, so please stop attempting to dictate  your beliefs unto others, especially when you have no idea of the communities affected by the inability properly police and curtail the flow of guns.

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee But the city is also going to be arresting people who are not hurting anyone. You could get over two years in jail just for owning a gun even if you do not plan on hurting anyone. In my opinion, that's wrong.

The big difference between murders and rapists is that they are doing something wrong. How can you equate possession of a gun to rape and murder? 


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee So to use your argument the city should just turn a blind eye to the stores that break rules by selling to criminals? Than I ask again why go after murderers and rapists. By your definition that seems to be a losing battle as well?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee Like I said, there's so many other factors that influence murder rates. To blame it on only one  factor is totally misleading.

There will always be ways criminals can get guns.  If someone wants a product, they will find some way to get them. You are fighting a losing battle. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee Wrong. Shutting down stores that sell guns illegally does curtail the flow of weapons to the streets. To believe otherwise goes against all the evidence being seen by active duty police officers who are actually in those neighborhoods 24/7

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee And I believe that you have no clue what happens in cities like Philly. When stores specialize in selling weapons to gang bangers they are violating my right not to get shot or robbed and I want to see my local government who I pay my property taxes to treat them like the safety hazard that they are.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee So yet again why can't a city regulate establishments that are known as the sources of most of the guns killing people on its streets? If a city doesn't have the power to regulate nuisance establishments of that nature what power can it have?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee  Because the city shouldn't have the power to do what they are doing. 

Like I said, I'm not a NRA member. In fact, I dislike the NRA because they try to blame violence on the entertainment industry. You are not different than the NRA really - You want to find a boogeyman to blame all of societies problems on. You blame guns, they blame video games.

There are other so many other factors that can influence crime rates you know. Poverty, high levels of substance abuse, poor parenting, etc.  To blame crime and focus solely one issues, like guns, or something as stupid as video games, is ridiculous.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee Yet again, why should anyone else dictate to a city that has been ravaged by gun violence how they can and can't regulate stores that specialize in selling guns to criminals? And I would rather have Bloomberg define what is illegal than an organization one of whose directors is Ollie North a man who illegally sold weapons to Iran to finance Right Wing Death Squads in Central America.

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee Because who defines "illegal"? Bloomberg? LOL

I believe if you have no intention of hurting someone, then you are not committing a crime. To put a person in jail is when they have not harmed someone is totally wrong.

And if you can't see the difference between owning a gun, which could be used for recreation and self defense, and a nuke, then I don't know what to tell you.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee Since when is it immoral to be imprisoned for carrying an illegal weapon? Would it be immoral to imprison someone for owning a nuke or some Sarin? And shutting down gun dealers that are responsible for the bulk of the weapons used in city homicides absolutely reduces the murder rate. Why do you think all the community leaders in the places most affected by those murders were solidly behind this law?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee Because it doesn't hinder the ability for the city to reduce murder rates? And it is immoral for someone to be put behind bars for two years just for owning a object that some guys deems unsafe.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee Why would I support a law that hinders the City's ability to reduce our murder rates? If you knowingly sell weapons to felons, why would I want to see you protected?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee  Well, if they are fighting them on the law that would put people in jail for two years minimum, then I totally support them and you should too.  

BJ1017
BJ1017

@HansLee The law didn't pass yet, so they are trying to make it two years minimum.  But potential  harsh and unfair penalties is one of the biggest reason why I'm against gun control legislation.  

BrianShaw
BrianShaw

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLeeWhat about someone with a stalking ex. What if she bounced some checks 10 years back when she was 19 and now has an abusive ex who is stalking her. Should she be denied a firearm for self defense due to a non violent crime after she served her time?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee More importantly how many of those people would be back in jail for having guns illegally before they could commit further crimes. But seeing as they could get the guns legally cheaper and easier, we will never know that as well.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @HansLee And the statistics above are just from the State of Washington. Think the other 49 states have numbers to report as well?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017@mantisdragon91@HansLeeA singular case!?! You are deep in denial aren't you.


Since 1995, more than 3,300 felons and people convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors have regained their gun rights in the state — 430 in 2010 alone — according to the analysis of data provided by the state police and the court system. Of that number, more than 400 — about 13 percent — have subsequently committed new crimes, the analysis found. More than 200 committed felonies, including murder, assault in the first and second degree, child rape and drive-by shooting.

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee One singular case does not prove an argument. You realize there's over 300 million people in the united states alone? Of course there will be people who fall through the cracks no matter what you do.

The point I'm making is for the majority of people who intend to hurt people. Since they don't follow laws, they will be the least likely to obey stronger gun laws. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017@HansLee In February 2005, Erik Zettergren came home from a party after midnight with his girlfriend and another couple. They had all been drinking heavily, and soon the other man and Mr. Zettergren’s girlfriend passed out on his bed. When Mr. Zettergren went to check on them later, he found his girlfriend naked from the waist down and the other man, Jason Robinson, with his pants around his ankles.

A few months after Erik Zettergren of Washington got back his gun rights, he fatally shot a man and threw his body in a river.

Enraged, Mr. Zettergren ordered Mr. Robinson to leave. After a brief confrontation, Mr. Zettergren shot him in the temple at point-blank range with a Glock-17 semiautomatic handgun. He then forced Mr. Robinson’s hysterical fiancée, at gunpoint, to help him dispose of the body in a nearby river.

It was the first homicide in more than 30 years in the small town of Endicott, in eastern Washington. But for a judge’s ruling two months before, it would probably never have happened.

For years, Mr. Zettergren had been barred from possessing firearms because of two felony convictions. He had a history of mental health problems and friends said he was dangerous. Yet Mr. Zettergren’s gun rights were restored without even a hearing, under a state law that gave the judge no leeway to deny the application as long as certain basic requirements had been met. Mr. Zettergren, then 36, wasted no time retrieving several guns he had given to a friend for safekeeping.

“If he hadn’t had his rights restored, in this particular instance, it probably would have saved the life of the other person,” said Denis Tracy, the prosecutor in Whitman County, who handled the murder case.

Under federal law, people with felony convictions forfeit their right to bear arms. Yet every year, thousands of felons across the country have those rights reinstated, often with little or no review. In several states, they include people convicted of violent crimes, including first-degree murder and manslaughter, an examination by The New York Times has found. 

 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/us/felons-finding-it-easy-to-regain-gun-rights.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee Someone who has killed another person is not getting out for a LONG time(if they even ever get out at all). For example, you don't ever have to worry about Jodi Arias getting a gun.



mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @mantisdragon91 @HansLee They would be let out because they have served their time. And without background checks exactly how would the parents of those day care kids know that it was run by a former pedophile?

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee Well, if they are really dangerous, then why would they be let out?

And  as for your 2nd question,  if your a parent, would you let your child go to a day care that was run by a former pedophile? Of course not. If a pedophile did run a day care he wouldn't have any business.


BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @HansLee Let me clarify this. The same people would keep killing more if it was legal, but the people who aren't killing people now won't suddenly become murders if it became legal.

BJ1017
BJ1017

@mantisdragon91 @BJ1017 @HansLee No, because those people are dangerous and should be kept away from society. That's why it should be illegal. I don't think murder and rape will happen more often if it was legal by the way. If murder was legal, would you kill someone? I know I won't because I'm not an evil maniac. Most people are good and caring people and won't hurt others regardless of laws.



mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@BJ1017 @HansLee So then we should legalize rape and murder as well. I mean its not like having a law against it will stop it from happening.