A slippery slope

(no pun intended)

Sam’s “Gun Calendar Girl” picture (mentioned in March 24th’s Day by Day cartoon) is a bit buried at Oleg Volk’s site. Here’s a direct link to Sam modelling some firearms, but you might also want to explore other parts of the Volk site.

Or, try this and click on the Human Details link.

The main point of this post, however, is occasioned by Chris Muir’s reference to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I was reminded of the problem Bloomberg’s gun-control escapades could present for former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

TOC has already wondered about the former Mayor’s attitude toward the Second Amendment because of statements like these,

“You’ve got to regulate, consistent with the Second Amendment.” “…if you’re talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it’s appropriate [to have draconian restrictions on the Second Amendment]. You might have different laws other places, and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities making decisions. After all, we do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.”

To many, excluding honest New York residents concerned about personal safety, this paean to federalism will sound balanced and reasonable. In any case, Rudy is telling us that none of this East coast sophistry matters in fly-over country, right? Not exactly. Mayor Bloomberg is applying Giuliani’s definition of federalism in some, shall we say, creative ways. Bloomberg is, by his lights, pushing regulation “consistent with the Second Amendment.” He’s so good at this that he’s insisting those outside his nominal jurisdiction benefit, too.

Bloomberg’s favor to us is demonstrating exactly where Giuliani’s slipshod patronizing of the Second Amendment leads; that is, what peril lurks in their definition of “a federal system of government.” Bloomberg illustrates what occurs when Giuliani’s principles are applied by through-and-through demagogues rather than simple statist wannabees. Bloomberg is suing Mom & Pop gun dealers in other states for creating a nuisance in New York City. Picking victims who can’t afford to defend themselves is always a good starting point for totalitarian ambition

Hizzoner has gone so far as to launch private sting operations – vigilante is an appropriate term – where civilian “investigators” have been sent to other states to make “straw purchases” of firearms. A “straw purchase” means you’re buying the gun for someone else, illegally. Completing such a purchase requires lying by definition. In this deceit, Bloomberg’s covert operators usurped the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and when BATF found out about it they were not well pleased.

Michael Battle, director of the executive office for United States Attorneys at the Department of Justice, warned the Bloomberg administration of “potential legal liabilities” for NYC if it continues, “without proper law enforcement authority,” to conduct sting operations that fall within the jurisdiction of federal agents. Bloomberg’s turpitude is further examined here: Bloom is off Bloomberg’s Vigilante Gun Shop Sting

It is unlikely that charges will be pressed against New York City’s Mayor, but here is a list of the laws that were probably (in the case of the first example, certainly) violated. Lying on question 12a, on BATF form 4473, about being the true purchaser of a firearm is a federal felony. It says so right on the form. Apart from the form’s explicit injunction, lying to the firearm dealer is a federal felony; using false identification or a false name is a federal felony; transferring a firearm in violation of the law is a federal felony; transporting an illegally obtained firearm over a state line is a federal felony; delivering that firearm to anyone is a federal felony; and participating in a conspiracy involving any of the above is a federal felony. See Federal Firearms Laws for more information than you want..

After having almost certainly committed all the above crimes, it should be noted that Bloomberg’s office turned over some tapes of their covert operations to BATF. From these tapes, BATF has determined that no crimes were committed by the firearm emporia. So, it would not seem as if we need new laws to mitigate New Yorker’s inconvenience, we just need to enforce the ones we have: Starting with Mayor Bloomberg’s office.

The BATF should certainly charge those who appear on tape committing obvious felonies. Even if no charges are brought against the Mayor, his being named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” would have an salutary effect on the defense of the civil suits he has initiated with illegally obtained evidence.

The problem for Rudy Giuliani is that Bloomberg is acting in complete accord with Giuliani’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. Further, even if you agree with Bloomberg and Giuliani on guns, you have to wonder what happens if the arrogant billionaire decides to apply these principles to other areas. After all, isn’t it a nuisance for New York City residents to experience higher taxes because you eat inappropriate food or smoke? If you cause sea levels to rise by driving an SUV or use incandescent instead of fluorescent light bulbs, isn’t it a huge threat to NYC?

It seems to me that this entire effort to supplant the federal government could be better directed. New York City saw 3,000 people terminally inconvenienced not long ago, and if Mayor Bloomberg wants to “augment” federal authority maybe he could conduct privately funded, extra-federal sting operations against militant jihadist cells in New York, or even field a Special Ops team of private investigators in Waziristan. I’m sure these are felonious activities under federal law, but we already know that’s not a deterrent to gun criminals or the Mayor of New York.

Rudy Giuliani, for one, should have no problem with such an expansion of NYC’s “interventions.” It’s his legacy, and he’s standing by it.