Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly argued Friday that guns need to be kept out of the hands of minorities in order to keep them alive.
While speaking at the Aspen Institute, Mr. Bloomberg, 72, said 95 percent of murders fall into a specific category: a male minority between the ages of 15 and 25, The Aspen Times reported.
Cities need to get guns out of this group’s hands and keep them alive, the former three-term mayor said, according to The Times.
“These kids think they’re going to get killed anyway because all their friends are getting killed,” said Mr. Bloomberg, who funds the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety. “They just don’t have any long-term focus or anything. It’s a joke to have a gun. It’s a joke to pull a trigger.”
Mr. Bloomberg brought up the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk practices, recalling a time during his last year in office when a Baptist minster in Harlem invited him to speak at their church, The Times reported.
“While I’m sitting there waiting for him to introduce me, he said to his congregation, ‘You know, if every one of you stopped and frisked your kid before they went out at night, the mayor wouldn’t have to do it,’” Mr. Bloomberg said. “And so I knew I was going to be OK with that audience.”
The former mayor spoke to a sold-out crowd Friday about a variety of topics, including poverty, education and marijuana legalization.
Mr. Bloomberg argued that Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana use was a terrible idea and is hurting children, The Times reported.
“What are we going to say in 10 years when we see all these kids whose IQs are 5 and 10 points lower than they would have been?” he asked. “I couldn’t feel more strongly about it, and my girlfriend says it’s no different than alcohol. It is different than alcohol. This is one of the stupider things that’s happening across our country.”
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the state’s largest gun rights group, compared Mr. Bloomberg’s comments to those uttered by white supremacists and demanded the former mayor apologize.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that black males should not be allowed to have guns echos similar sentiments made by southern white supremacists in the 19th century,” Tom King, the association’s president, said in a statement. “So called ‘Black Codes’ were enacted by various southern states to discriminate against black Americans and maintain the system of white supremacy that made slavery possible. These included restrictions on firearms possession.
“If a politician said this about anything other than guns, the mainstream media would be all over them,” Mr. King argued. “Michael Bloomberg isn’t just any politician, he is the leading voice for gun control in America. He should be held accountable for this slander.”
• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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