3:14 pm Jul. 27, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has done much in recent days to spark a national conversation about gun control, has explained his support for Senator Scott Brown, a Republican who is backed by the National Rifle Association, by touting Brown's opposition to a measure that would require states to recognize out-of-state concealed carry permits.
It's certainly true that Brown's opposition to the bill was, and is, a big deal.
In 2009, Democrats in the Senate, led by Chuck Schumer, narrowly defeated an amendment that would have allowed gun owners from more gun-friendly states to carry their weapons into states with more restrictive laws. The amendment failed the 60-vote threshold by just two votes; only two Republicans voted against it, and 20 Democrats voted in favor.
For Bloomberg, that was enough to outweigh Brown's opposition to the federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 and whose revival remains a distant dream of gun-control advocates.
But opposing "concealed carry reciprocity" would seem to be the outer limit of Brown's support for federal gun control.
In 2010, Bloomberg's own organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, tried to pressure Brown to support a slightly more ambitious measure, to close the so-called "gunshow loophole" that allows buyers at gun shows to forego the usual background checks.
Closing the loophole has been a top priority for the organization, and Bloomberg's group ran a television ad specifically targeting Brown and asking him to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor.
"Eleven years after Columbine, it's time," said the narrator. "Call Senator Brown and tell him to sponsor the bill to close the gun show loophole."
But Brown didn't budge, and the bill died quietly with just 14 senators signed on.
This morning, Bloomberg conceded that Brown is "not good on guns generally," even as he praised Brown for having "bucked his party" on the concealed weapons bill.
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