Editorial: Bloomberg’s courageous crusade

Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg easily could spend the rest of his life on a 200-foot yacht, or just bask at his own personal Riviera beach — but, instead, he’s using his wealth to save Americans.

He’s determined to reduce America’s insane gun slaughter that kills around 30,000 people yearly, counting murders, accidents and suicides. And he’s throwing his fortune into his cause.

After pouring great sums into two previous organizations — Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America — he just donated $50 million to merge them into a new national crusade called Everytown for Gun Safety. The group has released its first public service announcement warning that more than 2 million curious American children live in homes where they can find guns and trigger tragedy.

Bloomberg feels contempt for conservative politicians who fear the powerful gun lobby and oppose every effort to curb pistol murders. In effect, he said, those politicos are saying: “I don’t care about lives. I’d let 50 or 100 people get shot so that I get re-elected.”

That sums it up well: Right-wing politicians will do nothing to protect Americans, because they don’t want the tiny right-to-bear-arms lobby to turn against them in the next election. They cherish votes more than lives.

As we’ve said before, only a tiny fringe of Americans actually walk around with loaded pistols hidden in their pockets — armed to kill — yet this little group terrifies politicians, who bow down for the gun lobby’s endorsement. It’s a sad spectacle.

Bloomberg told The New York Times that cheap pistols endanger America much more than military-style assault guns do:

“You can have a ban on assault weapons. But assault weapons kill 400 people a year. They get a lot of press. But it’s 400 versus 31,000 with handguns. I think having a gun at home when you have children is really dumb. Kids — we all tried to figure out what was in the top shelf of the parents’ closet. And we looked in mommy’s handbag. Under the bed. Kids are inquisitive.”

In other words, families that keep pistols for “protection” actually imperil their children and small friends.

Shannon Watts, founder of the Moms Demand Action group, hopes the appeal for child safety will sway millions of Americans.

“Moms are afraid that our children will be taken away,” she said. “In the end, that’s the emotion that’s going to win.”

The National Rifle Association has spent $150 million since 1990 to elect “pro-gun” politicians. Bloomberg says his counter-groups have 34,000 donors ready to wage an opposing political crusade to put gun safety advocates into office.

We hope they succeed. It’s shameful that America’s gun murder rate is much worse than the toll in other advanced democracies.

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