Mixed messages from Bloomberg on gun control  DEC 18 2012

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been one the most powerful voices calling for increased gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings...see here and here. But earlier this year, NYC sold spent shell casings to an ammunition dealer.

In June, the City of New York sold 28,000 pounds of spent shell casings to a an ammunition dealer in Georgia, where they were to be reloaded with bullets. Anyone with $15 can buy a bag of 50, no questions asked, under Georgia law. As The New York Times reported, the city has previously sold shell casings -- which are collected at the police target shooting range -- to scrap metal dealers, but in this case the highest bidder was the ammunition store.

The city destroys guns but sells spent casing to be recycled. When challenged on this point, Bloomberg got testy:

Then one of the most experienced and professional of New York television reporters, Mary Murphy of WPIX, asked Mr. Bloomberg if the city was going to change its policy and not sell shell casings to ammunition dealers. Mr. Bloomberg set forth into a minisermon about how it was an act of integrity.

"This is the public's money that we are stewards of, and deliberately deciding to sell things at lower prices than the marketplace commands makes no sense at all, and if you think about it, would create chaos and corruption like you've never seen," he said.

Ms. Murphy pressed on: "Does it send the wrong message though?"

The mayor scolded her as if she were an errant schoolgirl.

"Miss, Miss," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Either you want to ask a question and I give you an answer, or please come to the next press conference and stand in the back."

Hmm.

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