In the wake of the tragic #theatershooting in Aurora, Colorado, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the opportunity to get vocal on CNN‘s Piers Morgan Tonight in favor of stricter gun laws across the nation. Interestingly, his solution for tackling the problem places the honus on policemen and women:
“I don’t understand why the police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike,” Bloomberg told the “Piers Morgan Tonight” host. “We’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe.”
A co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns – a coalition of more than 600 mayors fighting illegal gun trafficking and gun violence – Bloomberg is frustrated with the level of dangerous ammunition and supplies that are readily available:
“Police officers want to go home to their families. And we’re doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor-piercing bullets,” he detailed. “The only reason to have an armor-piercing bullet is to go through a bullet-resistant vest. The only people that wear bullet-resistant vests are our police officers.”
Many Americans agree that armor-piercing bullets can be a dangerous thing for everyday people to have access to, but gun ownership, protected by the U.S. Constitution, is a sticky issue. Still, it is difficult to swallow the notion that a police force, funded by taxpayers, should go on strike as a means of accomplishing gun reform. This presents a strange paradox (those with guns saying no to guns) and a bittersweet moment: Bloomberg calls for a solidarity action among workers whom he rarely aligns with. His recent history of using the police force as a private army that raids public parks and prevents (gasp!) free speech does not seem to fit with the new “police vs. guns” angle.
Bloomberg also a history of rejecting a worker’s right to strike and of trying to break unions so he can easily rid himself of checks and balances. When he tried to reform NYC’s public education system, Bloomberg consistently stepped on union toes. He also recently waged war on the city’s prevailing wage but, luckily, was rebuffed.
Kudos should be given to Bloomberg for taking to the national stage and setting an ambitious agenda to reform gun laws despite being a Republican presumably aligned with pro-gun powers that be. But asking public employees to carry the torch? After all they’ve been through on his watch? Not so fast, Mayor Mike.