Bloomberg: The gun lobby writes the laws that made the Trayvon Martin killing possible

Gretchen Mol, Michael Bloomberg, Christine Quinn. (Dana Rubinstein)
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Asked about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "The gun lobby is writing our nation's gun laws."

"It's a disgrace," said Bloomberg, during the question-and-answer session of a press conference today about the expansion of Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. "They write 'em in Washington. They write 'em in the state capitals. And the result is that our children are being killed, our police officers are being killed, you and I and our families are in danger."

The mayor's decision to frame the issue in the context of a larger fight for gun-control measures contrasted somewhat with reaction from Senator Chuck Schumer, who was once the national face of gun control in Congress, but who focused his comments on the Martin shooting more narrowly on the so-called "stand your ground" law in Florida, where the incident took place.

The mayor said, "The 'stand the ground,' as they're called, laws are opposed by law enforcement and opposed by prosecutors. And there's another issue, which I didn't read very much about. The shooter, this guy Zimmerman, how could he have had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, a loaded gun in the first place? Because long before he shot Trayvon Martin, he was arrested for attacking a police officer and was the subject of a court order to prevent domestic violence.

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"But unfortunately, in Florida, the gun laws are very lax. And unfortunate, law-enforcement officials have never been able to revoke this guy's license to carry a loaded gun in public."

The mayor is the co-chair of an organization called Mayors Against Illegal Guns that advocates for stronger gun control, and just last week, his senior firearms counsel advertised for out-of-work attorneys to help conduct research on gun-control doctrine.

The mayor also brought up a law introduced a couple of days after the Martin shooting that would require states to recognize concealed weapon permits from other states.

"I mean this is just the craziest thing," said the mayor.

"We have this bipartisan coalition of something like 650 mayors across the country," he said. "We are leading the fight against this bill, or trying to. It's a terrible reminder of the dangers that we all face. And as a matter of fact, we're looking for lawyers who want to volunteer their time and help us in the fight."

The mayor had earlier in the question-and-answer session spoken with some admiration about Singapore's harsh drug laws, where drug dealers face execution. The mayor said he doesn't espouse that sort of thing for the United States, "But the intent to protect their people is something that we should have, and given the number of Americans that die from drug use, or from tobacco use, or from illegal handguns, we should really look in the mirror and say, 'We're not doing a good job with protecting Americans.'

"And I don't suggest we adopt their ways of doing it, but the focus that they do have on protecting the people is something that we should think long and hard about."