PAINTING the nation's arms neon

Are brightly colored firearms putting officers in danger?


     One of the bases for Bloomberg's 2006 anti-color kit bill, introduced during the press conference that called out Lauer Custom Weaponry, was that it contradicted a 1999 NYC law which restricted the colors of toy guns. The 2006 anti-coloration kit law, signed by Bloomberg, prohibited firearms finishes in certain colors to curb gun versus toy confusion. This includes DuraCoat's Electric Color line, with hues such as Cherry, a bright red; Rose, a deep pink; O'Sherbert, a neon orange; and Sunburst, a vibrant yellow.

     In an opinion article Bloomberg wrote for Newsweek magazine, published in the April 30, 2007, issue, Bloomberg briefly addressed the concern from special interest groups and Congress on the placement of restrictions on firearms. The column, titled "The Changing Gun Debate," insisted that his organization's agenda doesn't impinge on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and it's that kind of thinking that hinders progress of keeping "illegal guns" out of criminal hands.

     "This isn't about gun control," Bloomberg wrote. "It's about crime control. The question is, can't we protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners while also doing more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Of course. It's not an either-or; a middle ground exists."

     But Siegler says that this kind of talk is more like smoke and mirrors, trying to cover up Bloomberg's famously anti-gun agenda, as he continuously introduces gun-control legislation into New York City law.

     "His actions to date and statements to date do not square with this statement. The law enforcement officer wants to keep guns out of the hands of those who are not legally able to possess them and who pose a danger to the public," Siegler explains. "That's different than saying that the guns themselves are illegal. The guns themselves are not illegal; it's the possession that's illegal. That's one thing that we probably do agree on: that persons who are already prohibited by federal or state law should not have firearms in their possession. However, the attack that Mayor Bloomberg [is] taking would render the ability of the law-abiding citizen — who is not under any legal impediment from owning a firearm — impotent, so to speak, in their ability to exercise their right under the Second Amendment."

     On March 3, Bloomberg spoke at a conference in Florida for the organization that he co-founded, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, where he told the audience that he agrees with the NRA, saying "we should enforce the laws of this country and that is what we are fighting to do."

     But Siegler says many of the things that Bloomberg wants to do have nothing to do with keeping firearms out of the hands of the law-breaker, and everything to do with disarming the nation, contrary to the Second Amendment. Siegler says that Bloomberg's incessant push for new laws on firearm restrictions poses a threat to the freedoms outlined by the Second Amendment. Such laws include one Bloomberg-initiated legislation that limited handgun purchases, and another which imposed more restrictions on gun dealers, both in New York City.

     Siegler argues that new laws restricting law-abiding citizens are not the answer to gun violence, since criminals, by nature, are not law-abiding.

     "Enforcing existing laws is the answer," Siegler says. "That's what the rank and file law enforcement officers want: they don't need headline grabbers such as Mayor Bloomberg. They need … tough-minded prosecutors and they need judges who will apply the law as it was intended to be applied."

Color blind

     While Bloomberg's solution to children and firearm safety is gun control, pro-gun advocates say the best practice to keep kids and guns apart is education.

     "It doesn't matter whether I have a pink firearm in the home," Siegler argues. "I don't know why that would make it less dangerous or more dangerous than any other firearm. It's not dangerous unless it's handled improperly."

     Officials argue that it's too easy for Bloomberg to slip anti-gun agendas under the imminent danger guise, by claiming children and law enforcement are potential victims, inevitably arousing public concern.

     And to further argue the position that Bloomberg's agenda stretches farther than the hue issue, Siegler asserts that it's a mask for the bigger schema of placing more restrictions on the provisions for citizens in the Second Amendment.

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