FREE BEACON.COM December 9, 2019 – Michael Bloomberg, who has spent years bankrolling the gun-control movement, fumbled facts and made muddled claims on how gun laws work while laying out his campaign’s gun-control plan on Thursday.
Bloomberg appeared to misunderstand what the FBI’s firearms background check system does, seemed to make up a new “loophole” in federal gun laws, and made questionable claims about gun use among young people during a campaign speech in Aurora, Colo.
Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars boosting the gun-control movement, Bloomberg’s comments suggest he lacks a basic familiarity with the details of firearms laws, sales, and operation. Thursday’s strange claims are just the latest example of Bloomberg demonstrating an apparent confusion about an issue he has described as his “life’s work.”
Thursday’s speech featured Bloomberg endorsing universal background checks, an expanded definition of domestic abuser under federal gun laws, a 48-hour waiting period on all gun purchases, and a “red flag” law. Bloomberg also proposed a system of government-issued permits for firearms, saying it would “allow authorities to screen applicants for dangerous behavior” and claimed the current system has no way of stopping people “from getting a gun when they’re a minor, when they have a criminal record, or when they have psychiatric problems.”
The FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system, however, does verify whether anyone attempting to purchase a firearm from a gun dealer has a disqualifying criminal or mental health record. The process also verifies the purchaser is old enough to own the gun they’re trying to buy. Bloomberg did not say why he believes this system is inadequate or ineffective; his campaign did not respond to questions about this or other comments.
While defending his permit-to-purchase proposal, Bloomberg drew a confused analogy between requiring a permit to buy a gun and voter registration requirements.
“I know critics will say ‘Americans shouldn’t need a permit to exercise their constitutional rights,’ but voting is a constitutional right, and we require people to register to protect the rights of all citizens, and this is the exact same idea,” he said.
Unlike the right to keep and bear arms, the right to vote per se is not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution or its amendments. The federal charter only places limitations on what kind of voting rights restrictions can exist.
At the same time, connecting gun-right restrictions to voting-right restrictions may raise uncomfortable questions for skeptics of the latter, including those in Bloomberg’s party who rail against proposals like voter ID. In particular, the claim that a gun purchase permit would “allow authorities to screen applicants for dangerous behavior” is similar to the “good character” vouchers that historically allowed officials to deny someone the right to vote based on their subjective judgment of the would-be voter’s character. Such vouchers were outlawed during the Civil Rights Era due to their discriminatory misuse. [full article]