10:20 pm Jul. 23, 20123
Mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" Monday evening, the latest stop in his post-Aurora gun-control tour.
"I don't understand why the police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say, 'We're gonna go on strike," said the mayor. "'We're not gonna protect you, unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe.'"
The mayor is not generally a great advocate of collective organizing, or of labor actions by first responders, but he was attempting to make a point forcefully.
Bloomberg has made tighter gun control one of his chief policy objectives at the national level to the extent that he's now perceived by some as the very face of gun control. And he has been the single loudest proponent of new gun restrictions since the latest Colorado massacre, much as he made himself available to the national media after the Trayvon Martin shooting.
It's part of a longer-term campaign for stricter gun laws by the mayor, who will be out of his current office in 2014.
"I think there is a perception in the political world that the N.R.A has more power than the American people," said the mayor on Monday night. "I do not happen to believe that."
Certainly, though, the N.R.A. has been getting its way for a while, and for now, the political war between it and the gun-control lobby is laughably asymmetric: The N.R.A. has a $220 million annual budget; the budget of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Bloomberg-backed group, is $4 million.
The mayor on Monday evening said it was only a matter of time before the pendulum swung the other way.
"Someday, there will be a shooting which you would think would trigger in the American psyche this 'I'm not gonna take it any more' attitude," he said.
He listed the shootings of a congresswoman (Gabrielle GIffords), college students (Virginia Tech and Oikos University), and the moviegoers in Aurora.
"I don't know what it is," he said. "We obviously haven't gotten there yet."