Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg's Constitutionally Oblivious Gun Battles

The presidential candidate’s gun control platform, like his defense of "stop and frisk," sacrifices civil liberties on the altar of public safety.


Michael Bloomberg has been taking flak from progressives lately because of his longstanding, enthusiastic support for New York City's "stop, question, and frisk" (SQF) program, a position he renounced just a week before he officially entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The former mayor's support for stricter gun control laws, by contrast, is not very controversial among Democratic voters, although it reflects the same troubling readiness to sacrifice civil liberties on the altar of public safety.

During Bloomberg's administration, the annual number of SQF encounters septupled, from fewer than 100,000 in 2002 to more than 685,000 in 2011. Nearly nine times out of 10, the pedestrians stopped, questioned, and frisked by police were black or Hispanic.

SQF's racially disproportionate impact has always been one of the main objections to it. Until recently, Bloomberg argued that the strategy's purported effectiveness in reducing gun violence justified the burden it imposed on young black and Hispanic men.

Now Bloomberg says he was wrong to credit SQF with reducing New York's homicide rate, which continued to fall as the number of stops plummeted after 2011. He also wants Democrats to believe he has finally taken to heart the complaints of innocent people hassled by police for no good reason—complaints that in 2013 led a federal judge to conclude that SQF violated both the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection and the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures.

Bloomberg never offered a credible defense of SQF's constitutionality. To the contrary, he implicitly admitted that New York police officers were routinely flouting the Fourth Amendment.

The main point of stopping and searching pedestrians, Bloomberg said, was not seizing illegal guns (which police almost never found) but deterring young men from carrying them. According to the Supreme Court, that is not a constitutionally permissible aim, since police may detain someone only if they reasonably suspect he is engaged in criminal activity and may pat him down only if they reasonably suspect he is armed.

Bloomberg overlooked such niceties, he says, because "I was totally focused on saving lives." The same tunnel vision is apparent in his gun control platform.

Bloomberg wants the federal government and all 50 states to enact "red flag" laws that suspend people's Second Amendment rights when they are deemed a threat to themselves or others. Such laws raise serious due process concerns, including vague standards, a lack of legal representation for respondents, and the automatic issuance of ex parte orders that deprive people of their constitutional rights without giving them a chance to rebut the allegations against them.

Bloomberg wants to ban so-called assault weapons, an arbitrarily defined category that includes some of the most popular rifles sold in the United States. Yet the Supreme Court has said the Second Amendment protects the right to own firearms "in common use" for "lawful purposes," a description that clearly applies to the guns Bloomberg considers intolerable.

Bloomberg wants to require "background checks for all gun sales," a policy aimed at enforcing legal restrictions on gun ownership that have little or nothing to do with public safety. If the system he favors works as intended, it will unjustly and irrationally stop millions of harmless people—including cannabis consumers and people who committed nonviolent drug felonies or underwent involuntary treatment for suicidal impulses decades ago—from exercising the constitutional right to armed self-defense.

Bloomberg wants to create a federal "permit" for gun purchases, which is constitutionally analogous to requiring that people get the government's permission before they buy books, express their opinions online, or start a prayer group. Such permits would be a vehicle for enforcing the current rules, the new ones Bloomberg favors, and whatever restrictions politicians dream up in the future.

As with SQF, Bloomberg simply assumes these policies will reduce gun violence, and he does not even consider whether they are constitutional. To him, that question is irrelevant when you are "totally focused on saving lives."

© Copyright 2020 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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  1. Nearly nine times out of 10, the pedestrians stopped, questioned, and frisked by police were black or Hispanic.

    And it’s up against the wall, urban brother.
    Brother who’s not breaking the law at all
    Well he’s 16 to 24 in NY City
    And Bloomberg’s PD’s gonna give him hell

    (With a nod to Ray Wylie Hubbard)

    1. The racial disparity is not the main problem (yes, it is a problem). The problem is the disregard for the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which requires probable cause before any search or seizure takes place.

  2. His policies violate the NAP. That’s the reason to reject them.

    1. No, it’s because they violate the constitution.

    2. While it’s a good reason, if we hold it up as the only reason, the majority of voters who don’t give two shits about the NAP aren’t going to care. Which doesn’t really do us any good.

      Making an argument that you feel will persuade those who don’t share your principles in no way diminishes the principles you hold.

  3. When you can find a lily white, suit wearing blonde boy dealing drugs in the South Bronx out of his personalized Maxwell Scott leather attache case, then you can arrest him.

    There’s your 9 out of 10.

    Reality is reality.

    1. Reality is reality.

      Dealing drugs is an actual crime. Stop and frisk applies almost specifically to people who haven’t committed any known crime.

      Moreover, officers are/were already capable of stopping and interrogating anyone they please under reasonable suspicion. To have a top down policy of stop and frisk is pretty blatantly Bloomberg instituting his racism into police practice.

      1. “Dealing drugs is an actual crime.”

        Citation needed, who’s the victim?

        Our government may immorally treat drug dealing as a crime, but we don’t need supposed libertarians repeating that drivel.

        1. Title 21, USC, section 841(a) 1 and 2. According to the law, we are all of us the victim.

        2. Our government may immorally treat drug dealing as a crime, but we don’t need supposed libertarians repeating that drivel.

          Well, if the intent is to unite libertarian ideology with reality we shouldn’t pretend that reality doesn’t exist. But, guessing from your reply, you don’t much care about reality or libertarianism as much as you care about signalling to your fellow Scotsmen.

      2. I’m not sure his perspective on it is racist as much as he thinks that all Constitutional rights are expendable if outweighed by any risk that he presumes. That risk in this case being that there is a greater likelihood of crime in certain neighborhoods [data proven], so therefore people who live in those neighborhoods should be more subject to government intrusion [and they should like it and appreciate him for it, because he’s their savior]. The people in those particular neighborhoods just happen to be black and Hispanic.

        Unfortunately, “racist” is the go-to, overused, simplified, and simply wrong because it’s easy to claim and generally requires an immediate defensive posture. If there are differences in application that coincide with race, then race is presumed to be the primary and often only motivation.

        No, his problem isn’t racism. [I’m sure he has plenty of “black friends” to prove it. </sarc] His problem is that for him, everyone else is the ignorant plebe, he's decided it is his duty and right to save us, and be damned with pesky things like rights and annoying things like the US Constitution. Which explains why he wants to also ban salt shakers and Big Gulps. He's a narcissistic control freak who thinks he should be allowed to Big Brother every aspect of everyone's existence.

        1. He’s a narcissistic control freak who thinks he should be allowed to Big Brother every aspect of everyone’s existence.

          You say this like you can’t be both narcissistic control freak and racist when it’s readily possible and even likely. That a violation of the 4A, enacted near exclusively on black people by design can’t also be a violation of the 14A.

          Unfortunately, “racist” is the go-to, overused, simplified, and simply wrong because it’s easy to claim and generally requires an immediate defensive posture. If there are differences in application that coincide with race, then race is presumed to be the primary and often only motivation.

          This is a disingenuous portrayal and I think you’ve confused me with someone else. He didn’t implement a blanket policy, discover it was affecting people disproportionately, and then disregard the disproportionate impact. He implemented it specifically and intentionally in a racially disparate manner. If he were a private business owner, I’d say he’s racist and it’s his right to be, but as Mayor generating and enforcing a policing policy is just as unconstitutional with regard to the 14A as it is to the 4A, whether I think the 14A should still exist or not.

          I’ve got no problem with racism until you knowingly bake it into the law, whether you did so with malice or not.

        2. Stop and Frisk was advocated by Norvall Morris in 1970 in “The Honest Politician’s Guide to Crime Control”.
          He was dean on the U Chicago Law school 1975-1978, and immigrated to the US via New Zealand, Australia, UK.

          Morris & Hawkins felt that simply being in public gave police probable cause to search one’s person for armaments: “… there can be no 1984 fears in this. There can be no right to privacy in regard to armament.” Morris & Hawkins also advocated prohibition of private ownership of firearms, enforced by searchs of persons on public streets and by searchs of homes in certain neighborhoods (likely the neighborhoods where honest citizens would morelikely need and have guns for self defense in the home).

          Bloomberg is just the most recent in long line of people pushing this police state tactic.

    2. Having lived in NY, I can assure you that Stop & Frisk routinely occurs without Probable Cause. I myself – a 40 year old man, respectably dressed – was stopped and frisked by an off duty police officer near a bar in Queens WITHOUT ANY PROBABLE CAUSE whatsoever.

      1. You don’t need probable cause to stop and frisk, just reasonable suspicion…a lower bar.

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  5. Bloomberg is the potential dictator TDS sufferers think Trump is. And yet, should he secure the Democratic nomination, they’ll support the proven control freak with contempt for civil liberties over the guy who has been deregulating and complying with even the stupidest court orders.

    1. He is also the openly racist and misogynist people claim trump to be based on all the conference videos leaking out.

    2. That’s a feature for Democrats not a bug. Almost all of the Democratic candidates seem to support some degree of authoritarianism from gun confiscation, bans on travel (at least by air or private car), wealth confiscation, compelled vegetarianism, outlawing dairy products, internet censorship, etc.

      1. Love the Democrat candidates who threatened to enforce gun bans with everything from F15s with Hellfire missiles to nuclear bombs against people who dare declare Don’t Tread On Me, Molon Labe.

        Couldn’t ask for a better unveiling of the iron hand in the velvet glove of intrusive government.

    3. The Dems are making a Faustian deal with Bloomberg. They have lost what little credibility they had left. Of course they will still cry all sorts of “ism”(while ignoring Bloomberg’s record) and continue talking about taking money out of politics(while taking millions from Bloomberg). I live in an open primary state and am voting for Sanders in the hope of a contested primary and watching Milwaukee burn.

      1. There are still plenty of mindless cultists that worship the DNC without question.

        1. Yellow dog Democrats who swear they vote straight Democrat every election and would never vote for a non-Democrat even if the Democrat Party ran a yellow dog as candidate.

      2. Not surprisingly, many of his government endorsements are those who he personally financially backed for their seat in Congress. About 30 of them as I recall. If you can’t win endorsements, buy them in advance and enjoy the favors later.

  6. “It’s time for the president, I think, to stand up and lead and tell this country what we should do — not go to Congress and say, “What do you guys want to do?” This should be his number one agenda. He’s president of the United States. ” Bloomberg, Meet the Press, December 2012. As I recall, his words to BHO were essentially “to hell with Congress, enact gun control with executive action.”

    As New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the exemplar of the paternalistic model, in which government uses any regulatory, legal, or political power at hand to protect its citizens from harm, self-inflicted or otherwise.

    1. And here we are being told that only alt-right extremists like AG Barr believe that the POTUS should be an unchecked authoritarian.

    2. I keep telling people, Bloomberg is the closest thing we’d have to a real, actual fascist in power. He’s a real-life version of Dr. Cocteau. Even Bernie wouldn’t go as far as Bloomberg in jawboning businesses to serve the interest of the state and attempting to rule by dictat.

      1. Be well Red Rocks. Have a peachy day.

  7. One question never raised with a democratic politician is this –
    “Since your oath of office is, or will be, to protect the constitution, and your party is specifically opposed to the second amendment, how do you expect the American public to believe anything you say?”

    1. Cue spluttering and bloviation.

      1. Blah blah Heller was decided wrong blah blah blah muskets blah blah National Guard is the militia blah

  8. “Nearly nine times out of 10, the pedestrians stopped, questioned, and frisked by police were black or Hispanic.”

    Who would have thought that when crimes predominantly occur in black and hispanic majority neighborhoods that the majority of people stopped would be black or hispanic. It’s almost like something being a “black” neighborhood means black people actually live there or something. Whoa.

    I never have nor ever will understand people who think there’s racial disparities in this aspect of policing. The facts and logic just don’t support their assertions.

    1. Sure there are racial disparities in both crime and victims and the police should be deployed where they will make the biggest impact, but that doesn’t mean the Constitution goes out the window. Stopping, questioning and searching minority youth without probable cause may actually reduce crime, but it is still unconstitutional. When Bloomberg decides that searching houses and confiscating guns will reduce gun violence, should we just acquiesce to its blatent unconstitutionallity because it might reduce gun violence?

      1. Agreed. Sorry if I made it sound like I was supporting stop and frisk. I just really get irritated by the interjection of race into everything, especially when it’s something that involves everyone’s rights being infringed.

    2. SQF’s racially disproportionate impact has always been one of the main objections to it.

      As awildseaking has pointed out, “racially disproportionate” in what context? What’s the denominator? “The population” as a whole? People “in” the criminal justice system? Or what?

      1. How many of the minority youth stopped and frisked had guns? A tiny minority of the minority.
        Advocacy of Stop’n’Frisk in the 1970s made me realize many in government had no respect for the 4th Amendment, reasonable search and seizure nor any at all for bearing arms for self-defense. The government had become an enemy domestic of the US Constitution that I had sworn to defend against enemies foreign and domestic.

    3. At most, at very most, “disparate impact” can tell you where to look for discrimination. It can never tell you there IS discrimination.

      In fact, in many circumstances discrimination is the only way to avoid disparate impact, rendering it’s absence evidence of discrimination!

      1. But that discrimination doesn’t count, because reasons.

        Stop and Frisk was wrong because it’s an unconstitutional search (no matter what the courts said). It’s wrong to grab someone minding their own business and search them. That it disproportionately affected minorities may or may not be also bad, but that isn’t the reason this policy was wrong. Regardless of how safe it made New Yorkers feel. Or how much dope the cops pulled off the streets.

        You want to stop violent crime? Lock up the violent. Most are repeat offenders, most carry or have access to weapons illegally, felon in possession of a deadly weapon is an easy crime to prove. Once you prove it, lock the guy up for 10 years, out in 8.5. Word will get around. The organized gang killings won’t be much affected (it’ll go into the shadows or they’ll get juveniles to do it), but the impulse killing and violence and general thuggery will go down.

        It will also lock up a fuck ton of minorities, mainly African-Americans, which is why it isn’t a priority anymore.

        1. Bottom line, there’s no line of reason to either crime prevention or criminal law that won’t be disparaged and called unfair and bigoted, and that even means letting criminals go free because they are of certain heritage [because that means that their victims then don’t receive justice]. May as well suck it up, jail the offenders and know that your verbal beatdown by race provocateurs is just part of the job.

          1. Or go along to get along, cater to the race-baiters, and retire after 20.

            Hmmmm, I wonder which option most police employees will use?

        2. Authoritarians have a vested interest in maintaining or exaggerating levels of violent crime to justify power over the dependent masses.
          They have little incentive to reduce crime. Hence the parade of malum prohibitum laws against alcohol, marijuana, guns, erotica, comic books that are done in the name of public safety but don’t actually make the public safe, by design.

    4. Who would have thought that when crimes predominantly occur in black and hispanic majority neighborhoods that the majority of people stopped would be black or hispanic. It’s almost like something being a “black” neighborhood means black people actually live there or something. Whoa.

      I’m as openly racist as the next guy and am pretty certain that our march towards equality is an absolute sham, but Bloomberg has this absolutely retarded streak in him when it comes to this sort of thing. I’m all for a hiring manager never hiring a black guy. I’m all for a private hiring manager saying “I’ll never hire a black guy.” and then doing so. I’m all in favor of public hiring manager never hiring a black guy. However, a public hiring manager saying “I’ll never hire a black guy.” is against the law. Even if it explicitly weren’t it provably compounds the issues with regard to taxation being theft.

      It would’ve been dead simple to quietly task police to high crime areas and completely innocent to encourage them to vet any reasonable suspicion to the fullest. But ‘stop and frisk’ made what can and does happen innocently and organically into an explicit policy under the law. There’s no reason to have it, officer assignment is as the PD’s discretion and the officers themselves have pretty broad discretion to accost/interrogate anyone they please. This policy only exists/existed because Bloomberg felt that the existing policies weren’t overtly racist enough.

    5. Who would have thought that when crimes predominantly occur in black and hispanic majority neighborhoods that the majority of people stopped would be black or hispanic.

      Are 9 out of 10 stop and frisks in Midtown Manhattan and Wall Street white? Have there been 10 stop and frisks there?

      1. Are 9 out of 10 stop and frisks in Midtown Manhattan and Wall Street white? Have there been 10 stop and frisks there?

        Around Midtown, it’s probably going to work around to 6 or 7 out of 10 being minority.

        Because, around Midtown, victims say that their attacker/robber/mugger was minority 6 or 7 times out of 10.

        Around Wall Street, it’s gonna be about 9.9999999 out of 10.

        Because, around Wall Street, victims say that their attacker/robber/mugger was minority 6 or 7 times out of 10.

        It’s what the victims say that finalizes the ratio.

        1. It’s who the cops stop and frisk that finalizes the ratio.

      2. Do white people traffic Harlem the same way everyone traffics Midtown?

        1. Since gentrification? Probably. Jeez, have you priced a simple walk-up in the 120s lately?

          Before that, let’s let Dave Chappelle explain:

          Robert Petkoff: Welcome to the Marcy Projects, here in Brooklyn, New York. Why are we here?

          Bill Burr: To buy weed?

    6. awild, if that hypothesis held water, then one would expect the rate of stop-and-frisks to be in rough proportion to the rate of crimes. They were not. While more crimes do occur in minority neighborhoods on a per-capita basis, the ratio of stop-and-frisks was far higher.

      1. That’s because…brace for it…more criminals are minorities.

        Nobody here is defending stop and frisk. I’m just criticizing the racial angle on it. Blacks and hispanics are targeted more because they commit more crimes. The ratio is higher in their neighborhoods because they’re committing the crimes in their own neighborhoods and in other neighborhoods too. You’re not going to see some magical spike in white frisks in black neighborhoods because white people don’t go there in the first place.

    7. Sending police to the neighborhoods where the crimes are being committed is common sense.

      Throwing up all the citizens of that neighborhood “against the wall” and frisking them for weapons is a violation of their Second and Fourth Amendment rights, which apply in NYC, just as in the rest of the country.

  9. Gun control is not about guns, it is about control, of you…

  10. I don’t know that Bloomberg is oblivious. That would imply that he might care if he knew. I think he does know that his gun control schemes are unconstitutional and just doesn’t care. That’s been the Progressive mindset for a long time, that the Constitution shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of their plans.

    1. Bloomie once said. “Sometimes government does know best. And in those cases, Americans should just cede their rights.”

      Yep, doesn’t care. He would be incapable of following the oath of office, because he things so little of the document he would be swearing to uphold.

      1. things = think

      2. He would still get a lot of votes; as has been said, people love authority as long as they think it is only going to be directed toward those they do not like or agree with

      3. Who is government? We the People are government. Those in government are our employees. Who are they to tell their bosses what to do?

    2. That would imply that he might care if he knew.

      *semantics fight*

      Disagree. ‘Oblivious’ doesn’t distinguish between ignorance and apathy. Whether you are unaware because you cannot perceive it or because you perceive it and do not care is equally oblivious.

      However, Bloomberg is not oblivious. He’s not just blankly churning out legislation, some of which happens to be unconstitutional and/or anti-gun. He’s specifically and knowingly churning out bunk legislation with intent which is not oblivious.

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  12. Ok Reason, we all know about his big gulp, weed and gun confiscation views. We know he is paying off every minority community leader in the U.S. as we speak. The important story is that Bloomberg has a permanent erection for Xi Jinping and the communist ruling party of China. Now here is a Bloomberg breaking story from real journalists:

    1. Thanks, though it seems Bloomers kept himself distant and this campaign or terror against this woman was carried out by his various corporate and legal minions. But is speaks clearly enough to what an imperious dictator he is.

  13. Scratch a liberal, find an autocrat.

    Bloomberg can go fuck himself sideways with a full-grown saguaro.


    1. Why do you got to wish that ill upon an innocent cactus?

  14. We were warned about those like Bloomberg long ago.

    “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” Daniel Webster

  15. Its the same thing as his desire to make large soft drinks illegal. Bloomberg would be a huge back pressure to civil liberties. Despite his market friendliness he is not a libertarian’s friend.

    The other part that really stinks is he employs 17 ex-NYPD as his armed security detail. Clearly he feels wealthy and well-connected people have a right to defend their lives, just not common people, for our own good of course.

  16. Alright so anyway guns are problematic, obviously people are going to be afraid

    The best self defense is probably increasing economic equality, and ending the drug war, and providing socialized mental health services so people with mental health issues they never asked for aren’t unfairly disadvantaged by the services and thus actually use and benefit from them

    Its common sense

    Reserving control of arms is important as a measure against authoritarian control, so I would think there should be a compromise.

    I don’t fully understand gun laws, you know because I’m busy trying to support myself, but from what I understand people generally can’t own things like tanks and anti-aircraft weaponry, etc.

    I would think the best compromise would be to allow militias who are registered without necessarily registering the address they store their arms, but the arms need to be stored with access guarded by some kind of non-government affiliated authoritative structure. Just as long as the government can verify that the guns aren’t being distributed willy nilly by the militias and instead arms are kept secure only to be used in case of war then people would be free to establish truly effective arms repositories.

    This would be the best outcome in my opinion because it would incentivize more people to join militias thereby giving urban residents as well as sub-urban and rural residents (all between whom there are class and ethnic divisions) means to defend themselves against the intended adversary, the government. This I think would unify people across these divides, and provide engagement and a more diverse education in the form of military training for urban residents which will be good for society in general, and also these militias would truly be able to defend themselves, not just create a minor nuisance to a state actor like the gun laws we have now enable people to do.

    1. There are no compromises. The right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, inalienable, right, and, thus, not subject to any balancing tests.

      Storing firearms and ammunition in a specified place mans that the government can more easily seize them, and, thus, again, is a violation of the 2nd Amdt. Moreover, the citizenry won’t have instant access to their arms, when needed, but rather would need to go to that species location to pick them up. That would also make them unavailable for other uses such as for self defense.

      Keep 8n mind that the militia in the 2nd Amdt is the militia of 1775 and 1776, which fought the initial battles of our Revolutionary War, and formed the core of the Continental Army. Those militias required that the citizen militia members keep and maintain their personal weaponry at their homes, as well as a minimum amount of ammunition whenever they mustered. Their crew served weapons (cannon, shot, and powder) were the arms stored at their local armories – not their personal arms, which were kept at home.

      1. Bonny and Clyde got their BARs from National Guard Armories.
        John Dillinger stole Tommy guns from police stations.
        Ma Barker’s gang bought stolen Army weapons from fences.
        Placing weapons in an armory makes guns per burglary greater.

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