Labor day weekend in New York City saw a surge in gun-related violence over the weekend that resulted in 10 deaths, and now Mayor Bloomberg has asked for the federal government to pile on to some of the strictest local anti-gun legislation in the country.
There were 14 separate shooting incidents over the weekend, and violence injured a reported 50 people, according to the Wall Street Journal. A lone gunman was reportedly responsible for shooting eight people at a party in a backyard in the Bronx on Sunday. Among his eight victims, the shooter hit an 11-year-old boy and two girls ages 13 and 14.
Gunfire even erupted within earshot of New York City Mayor Bloomberg on Sunday, as he was marching in the West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn, according to the NY Post. A number of shootings occurred at or near the parade, which is supposed to be a celebration of West Indian (Caribbean) culture, food, and music.
Bloomberg responded to the spate of gun violence on the steps outside the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, and claimed that:
“we cannot tolerate it, there are just too many guns on the streets and we have to do something about it.”
The Big Apple's Mayor didn't leave any doubt as to what he had in mind when he said 'do something.' Bloomberg went called for direct federal government intervention to prevent gun possession in New York. On the issue of tackling the gun crime surge, the Mayor said:
"We need the federal government to step up. Both ends of Pennsylvania Ave., both sides of the aisle."
New York already has among the strictest gun control laws in the country. Currently, possession of an unlicensed handgun requires mandatory jail time (even for an NFL celebrity like Plaxico Burress).
As it is, law-abiding citizens have a near-impossble time acquiring a handgun permit in the city that never sleeps. Technically a "may issue" state for firearms, some legal analysts believe New York is really more of a "no issue" state- unless you have connections.
This end-run around the 2nd Amendment in New York City began over a century ago as a result of corrupt, liberal politicians pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment.
The hundred-year-old Sullivan Law (also called the Sullivan Act) was initially a Tammany Hall patronage measure that allowed favored constituents of corrupt politicians to carry concealed handguns. Under the Sullivan Law, the police- not the Constitution- would determine who could and could not concealed carry a firearm in New York. Simple possession of more common weapons- razors, brass knuckles, or dagger, for example- was a felony, whereas possession of a firearm without license was a misdemeanor.
A series of similar gun legislation followed suit in urban areas across the country.
Fast forward a century: the current state of New York City's handgun laws are so Byzantine, it appears almost impossible for law-abiding gun owners to comply with, or even understand them.
Perhaps that's the point.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of a tragic weekend, the same tired ant-gun politics emerge. Anyone want to place a bet on how many of the violent perpetrators were carrying guns illegally in the first place?
These criminals risked substantial jail time the moment they walked out their front door. Adding a federal penalty would hardly change their minds.
Further infringement on legal gun ownership is not the answer.
But it seems City Hall has already decided to pretend it is.