Anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just been handed an embarrassing little scandal involving eight New York City police officers, several guns with obliterated serial numbers and the go-for-the-jugular criticism of Bellevue gun rights activist Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Almost immediately after the Reuters news agency reported Tuesday morning that eight New York City police officers had been charged with “helping run a gun-smuggling ring in a city where Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leading a national campaign against illegal guns,” Gottlieb was taking off his gloves.
The District Attorney’s Office said the men “exploited their experience and credentials to assist in a variety of schemes involving the illegal interstate transportation of goods,” which included guns, slot machines, cigarettes and counterfeit goods.”–Reuters
Gottlieb has been at war with Bloomberg since the mayor – a founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, of which former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was a charter member – dispatched “private investigators” on a multi-state gun-buying sting operation that resulted in several lawsuits against gun dealers in other states, and also attracted the attention of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF and Bush administration Justice Department bluntly advised Bloomberg to butt out of their legitimate investigations, which his rogue operation apparently endangered.
“While he was busily suing legitimate gun dealers all over the country and going on television to brag about it, he should have been paying closer attention to what was happening in his own back yard. After all, it was his city employees that have been charged in this illegal gun trafficking scheme.”—Alan Gottlieb
According to Reuters, five of the accused cops are still on active duty, two were on active duty for part of the time they participated in the alleged gun operation, and the eighth cop is now retired. In addition to the officers, Reuters said a former New York City Department of Sanitation police officer, a New Jersey corrections officer and two other men have been charged in the gun smuggling caper.
The allegations include moving 16 handguns, a trio of M-16 rifles and a shotgun from New Jersey to New York. Most of the guns had obliterated serial numbers. Other goods included slot machines, counterfeit products and cigarettes. It’s not exactly Operation Fast and Furious – the ill-managed gun trafficking sting mounted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – but it does leave egg on Bloomberg’s dapper face.
Tuesday afternoon, Gottlieb issued a blistering statement that was loaded with sarcasm.
“Bloomberg’s fiasco is steeped in irony, because this New York gun trafficking operation was happening right under the mayor’s nose, and he didn’t even know about it. He was paying too much attention to telling everyone else what was wrong with their gun laws, when he couldn’t even keep his own cops from breaking the gun laws he thinks should be used as a model all over the country.”—Alan Gottlieb
Gottlieb told this column that Bloomberg and other gun prohibitionists “make it easy” to criticize their actions. For the Bellevue gun activist, it was the second day in a row in which he went after Bloomberg. On Monday, Gottlieb blasted the mayor for dispatching thousands of cops to handle the Occupy Wall Street protests, leaving the neighborhoods more vulnerable to crime because the city’s gun laws have made it impossible for residents and small business operators to fight back.
Earlier this year, Gottlieb’s other organization, the Second Amendment Foundation, filed a federal lawsuit against Bloomberg and the City of New York over the prohibitive fees the city charges for pistol permit applications. Anywhere outside of the city, New York residents can apply for the permit and the fee is $10, but inside the Big Apple, that fee skyrockets to an exorbitant $340, the lawsuit asserts.
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