April 17, 2013

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

New York City has had strict gun-control laws for about a century. (Celebrities, the rich, and the politically connected, however, can often score an NYC concealed-carry permit. A 2002 Newsday article reported that private citizens licensed to pack heat on the streets of Manhattan included Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Howard Stern, Donald Trump, Steven Seagal, William F. Buckley, Chazz Palminteri, Winthrop Rockefeller, Don Imus, and Buddy Hackett.)

New York City’s strict gun-control laws didn”€™t do law-abiding citizens much good after liberal Republican John Lindsay’s election as mayor in 1965. New York cops reacted to official hostility from on high by retreating to the donut shop for much of their shift. They couldn”€™t get in trouble for violating anybody’s rights if they weren”€™t doing anything. Not surprisingly, violent crime rose rapidly, making Central Park notoriously dangerous after dark.

Over the last 20 years, though, the Democrats have lost five straight mayoral elections in New York City, largely due to the legacy of violent crime, which peaked during David Dinkins’s ill-fated 1990-1993 Administration. (New Yorkers salved their liberal consciences by voting 81 percent for Obama in 2012, but that’s mostly symbolism: The mayor’s race is what matters in New York.) Pro-police political leadership has reenergized the vast and munificently paid NYPD, and the crime rate has dropped.

It appears that from Mayor Bloomberg’s perspective, an armed citizenry”€”at least below the Bobby De Niro level of A-listness”€”is an impediment. Who wants do-it-yourself crimefighters blazing away at bad guys but probably plugging random pedestrians instead when the NYPD’s response time to critical incidents is under five minutes?

The way Mayor Bloomberg seems to see it, all that anybody needs to deter crime is a $3.9-billion police-department budget and the heartfelt conviction that civil-rights laws apply only to Southern rednecks, not to New York billionaires. If your little town can”€™t afford New York’s 34,500 uniformed officers, well, you should have chosen your level of wealth more wisely.



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