As Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Coalition of Mayors for Gun Control spends $12 million on gun control ads airing in 13 states to get U.S. senators to vote for comprehensive background checks, the mayor dismissed Monday the National Rifle Association's claim that he is trying to buy influence over the gun control debate. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association are taking to the airwaves to attack one another.
On Monday, the mayor criticized the NRA for dialing automated phone calls to residents in Newtown, Connecticut, urging those devastated by the Sandy Hook school shootings to oppose gun control measures.
"Of all the places you shouldn't be doing robo-calls, I think most people would say that's not a good place to do it. They ought to be ashamed," Bloomberg said.
The executive vice president and CEO of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that Bloomberg's ad buys are causing trouble.
"And he can't spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public," LaPierre said. "They don't want him in their restaurants. They don't want him in their homes. They don't want him telling him what food to eat. They sure don't want him telling them what self-defense firearms to own. He can't buy America."
Bloomberg countered, "I don't think anybody can buy America. But in the context of they've spent $100 million and I have spent $10 [million], when we were kids, wasn't there a saying about throwing stones if you live in glass houses?"
The mayor's anti-illegal gun coalition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, will launch a $12 million ad campaign this week in 13 key states urging Congress to strengthen gun control and make background checks mandatory in gun sales.
New York was the first state to pass stricter gun laws following the Sandy Hook massacre. The state's rifle association has already sued the Cuomo administration over it.
Governor Andrew Cuomo defended the law on Monday on a WCNY-AM interview.
"These people are spreading fear, because the facts don't work for them," Cuomo said.
The governor said last week the law already has to be amended to correct an "inconsistency."
A report on Monday suggested it was the Bloomberg administration that drafted the law, but the mayor denied it, saying, "What did we do, put a gun to their head, pardon the pun, and force them to write legislation?"
The mayor said he just puts his ideas out there and hopes somebody is listening.