Biden meets with Bloomberg as gun-control groups attack Reid

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Vice President Joe Biden will meet with New York City mayor and Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chairman Michael Bloomberg at New York City Hall Thursday, where Bloomberg, joined by families from Newtown, Connecticut, will urge him to continue fighting for gun-control reforms.

The meeting, to be held at 11 a.m. in the Blue Room of City Hall and broadcast live on NYC.gov, comes as gun-control groups levy sharp criticism at Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for failing to hold his caucus together in order to gain necessary support for California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed assault weapons ban, which has been nixed from the Democratic gun-control agenda.

Bloomberg is expected to urge Biden to pass “common sense” gun control policies, including background checks. No mention of the assault weapons ban was made in the press release issued about the meeting.

Gun-control advocates have attacked Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid since Reid’s announcement Tuesday that Feinstein’s assault weapons ban does not have the votes to pass, and will not be a part of his party’s gun-control package.

“Harry Reid’s decision to strip the assault weapon ban from the Senate bill on guns was both shameful and disappointing,” said the progressive women’s rights group UltraViolet. “When 40 percent of mass shooters start their rampages seeking our their wives, girlfriends, or exes, women cannot afford to wait one minute longer for bold action on gun safety reform. Our 400,00 members will not forget that today, Harry Reid was not on their side.”

CNN host Piers Morgan, who declared on Twitter that he intends to “shame” every Democratic senator who did not support the assault weapons ban, interviewed filmmaker Michael Moore, who implored viewers to email Reid with support for an assault weapons ban.

“If a man with an assault weapon goes into the school where Harry Reid’s grandchildren go to school tomorrow and kills his grandchildren, would he stand in front of that microphone at five o’clock and say…’ We can’t get it passed, we just don’t have the votes.’ Would he do that, really? I don’t think so,” Moore said.

Feinstein’s push to gain support for the assault weapons ban was fraught with divisiveness and melodrama.

Feinstein attacked freshman Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the Senate judiciary committee for daring to “lecture” her, after Cruz asked why Democrats don’t support the Second Amendment to the same extent that they support the First and the Fourth.

She also dramatically recounted how she had seen the bodies of San Francisco politicians Harvey Milk and George Moscone after their assassinations in 1978, evoking a sentimental image that most Americans associate with the Oscar-winning pro-gay 2008 film “Milk.”

Feinstein recently called Reid’s nixing of her assault weapons ban a “betrayal of trust” and said, “I’m not going to lie down and play dead on this.”

Biden curiously announced Wednesday, “I am still pushing that it pass,” shifting the gun-control movement’s anger toward Reid.

While liberal animus toward Reid has been intense, progressives have been less inclined to attack the Obama administration, which appears to have accepted weeks ago the reality that an assault weapons ban is not politically feasible.

The pro-Obama messaging group Organizing for Action, headed by Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina and focused on advocating for the administration’s second-term goals, launched an online ad campaign in February calling for background checks, but shying away from calling for an assault weapons ban.

Biden’s meeting with Bloomberg Thursday on background checks and other “common sense steps” allows the administration a photo opportunity with one of progressive America’s leading gun-control advocates in Bloomberg, while still advancing only the relatively moderate gun-control policy that it has long sought.

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