Arizona’s Attorney General, Tom Horne, has lashed out at New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the undercover investigation that Bloomberg conducted recently at a Phoenix gun show.
Two Gun Sellers Violating Federal Law
As I wrote here two days ago, undercover detectives found at least two gun sellers who were apparently violating federal law.
As Attorney General for Arizona, Tom Horne might be expected to investigate such criminal activity, especially in light of the recent Tucson shootings.
Nothing More Than A Public Relations Stunt
Instead, here’s how Horne responded. From The New York Times:
Mr. Horne criticized Mr. Bloomberg for not notifying the Arizona State Police in advance of the investigation. “The fact that no such notification was made indicates this so-called sting is nothing less than a public relations stunt,” Mr. Horne said in a statement.
He said that the mayor ought to focus on what he called New York City’s “skyrocketing crime rate.”
“According to the most recent F.B.I. statistics, violent crime in New York City increased significantly in 2010 compared to data from 2009,” he said. “Robbery went up 3.9 percent, forcible rape rose 13.9 percent, aggravated assault increased 8.8 percent and murder rose 12.3 percent. Clearly, the good men and women of the New York City police department have more pressing crimes to investigate than alleged violations at a gun show 2,400 miles away.”
Aides to the mayor said that private detectives who were former law enforcement officers carried out the video investigations, not current police officers. Jason Post, a Bloomberg aide, also disputed the crime figures issued by Mr. Horne. He said that New York is the safest big city in the nation, safer than Phoenix, according to the per capita rate of major felonies tracked by the F.B.I.
Push To Toughen Federal Gun Laws
Well, yes, Mr. Horne, that was definitely intended as an exercise in public relations. Mayor Bloomberg is a leader in the Mayors Against Illegal Guns campaign, and has in fact authorized several such stings in other states, as part of the push to toughen federal gun laws.
A quick reminder: as state superintendent of schools, Tom Horne was responsible, among other divisive actions, for the banning of ethnic studies in Arizona’s classrooms. So his defensive response to Mayor Bloomberg’s investigation is not entirely surprising.
Undercover Stings Require Prior Notification?
And yet, when does any undercover sting require prior notification? If he knew about it, would Horne have warned the gun dealers not to break the law that day? Isn’t it the attorney general’s job to make sure people don’t break the law? Was Horne simply embarrassed by these findings?
Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for standing up to the gun lobbyists and trying to prevent gun violence and deaths. The next step should be to fight for saner, more sensible gun laws and regulations.
What do you think of Tom Horne’s response?
Photo credit: mrbill via Creative Commons