New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to have become the gun-grabbing poster boy of the year. For some months, he has led a campaign among his fellow mayors to crack down on handguns, and has used the shootings at Virginia Tech to fuel his rhetoric.
(The Mayor’s own record on public safety is anything but unblemished. He recently vetoed a ban on aluminum bats, which was overridden by the New York City Council, and his police department tends to fire more ammo than is tasteful into innocent people.)
I have full confidence that whatever Mayor Bloomberg wants to do will be just as irrelevant and ineffectual as all other efforts at gun control. But there is one thing he can do: If the mayor is really serious about public safety, why not simply buy up all the loose handguns with his own money? Bloomberg is worth between $13 and $16 billion. With that kind of money, he could offer a real incentive to all criminals and prospective mass murderers to hand in their hardware. For example:
“I will personally give $1,000 to anyone who turns in a functional handgun, no questions asked, in any city in the United States. There will be no limit to the number of guns you can turn in.”
Now let’s say the Mayor is willing to part with $10 billion. That means he could take 10 million handguns off the streets (if ever there were that many) and still have $3 to $5 billion left over to buy himself the White House. There would hardly be a handgun to be found in America. The next time a potential mass murderer walks into a gun store, he will come out with an aluminum baseball bat, because that’s all they will have.
Non-gun-owning acquaintances ask me why anyone needs more than a few firearms. I say to you, the American people, why does anyone need $15 billion? It is time, Mr. Mayor, to stop the rhetoric and put your money where your mouth is.