Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who last year had more than $55 billion in net worth, made a late, temporary entry into the Democratic presidential sweepstakes. He spent almost a billion dollars and secured only 61 delegates. But he continues to spend big on causes he believes in, and now Arizona is on his landscape.
Although he had a reputation for fighting crime in New York, Bloomberg is a big believer in gun control. Thinking Arizona is becoming more winnable for Democrats, he is eyeing the state. His affiliated gun control group is committing $5 million to helping Democratic candidates, from Joe Biden and Senate hopeful Mark Kelly down to the Legislature, hoping to make a difference. Meanwhile, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, gun rights groups have spent nearly half a million dollars over the last 20 years in state campaigns, while gun control cash was only about $15,000.
Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety has advanced some good ideas, including attacking the real problem with guns: criminals. Yet gun control discussion generally gives that far too little attention. Major cities have a terrible scourge of homicide, and it is mainly related to gang violence. Too little effort is made to keep the criminals from having guns or take the lawbreakers themselves off the streets. And guns aside, when gang leaders decide to kill someone, which they often do, they don’t need a gun to do the job.