NYC Sues (More) Out-Of-State Gun Dealers. Does This Mean Bloomberg’s Running for Prez?

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Today, NYC sued a dozen out-of-state gun dealers that it says are recklessly selling guns that are then used in Big Apple crimes. The latest suit brings the total number of suspected straw dealers sued by NYC to 47. As the Washington Post reports: “A straw sale is where one person fills out the paperwork to purchase a gun meant for someone else. The scam is often used by those who cannot own firearms, like convicted felons.”

This tactic is just the latest innovation that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been willing to employ to staunch the flow of weapons into NYC. In a Mother Jones piece that appeared last year, Greg Sargent wrote about how a law firm with its own tragic history of gun violence teamed up with Bloomberg

“to wage a landmark lawsuit against more than three dozen gun manufacturers and distributors. The companies—including Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Glock, and Browning—constitute virtually the entire firearms industry. New York City’s case is built on the theory that gun companies know their products end up being trafficked to criminals and could take easy steps to stop it, but fail to do so.”

New York vs. Beretta so terrified the gun lobby that it got Congress to pass (and not for the first time) sweeping liability protection for the industry, though whether it would retroactively apply to the NYC case is still up for grabs. The gun lobby has managed to defeat most other municipal cases, and has filed a motion to dismiss New York vs. Beretta “based on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.” Nevertheless, gun-control advocates see in New York vs. Beretta model way to force manufacturers to change the way they market and distribute their products.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg—a man not to be screwed with, and also a mayor (and presidential candidate?) who relies on dems and moderates for his political power—sent out PIs wearing hidden cameras to try and make straw purchases at some 45 out-of-state dealers. The Post reports:

“They focused on shops where hundreds of guns have been traced back there from New York City killings, muggings and other crimes in recent years. Bloomberg said the majority of gun dealers refused the sale, but those who allegedly allowed it have been targeted in the [latest] lawsuits.”

So there you have it. The politician taking a real stand on gun control is a Republican. Any guesses as to whether a Dem-controlled Congress will follow his lead?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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