Maryann Tobin

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is deadly serious about crushing the influence of the NRA, and he has the money to do it.

Bloomberg’s Super PAC, Independence USA, is running attack ads in Illinois against NRA A+ rated candidate Debbie Halvorson. Bloomberg’s Super PAC is also behind ads supporting former State Rep. Robin Kelly, who has devoted her campaign to fighting gun violence.

Bloomberg became a staunch advocate of tighter gun control laws following the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre of 20 young children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Bloomberg would like New York to be a model for better gun control laws throughout the country. It was the first state to sign stricter gun-control measures into law. Just six weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed-off on limiting the number of bullets in magazines, implemented mental health rules for people trying to buy guns and added muscle to the state’s existing assault weapons ban.

The National Rifle Association called New York’s efforts to curb gun violence, “orchestrating a secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process," CNN reports.

However, supporters of “common-sense” gun control laws suggest that scare tactics and conspiracy theories are a feeble defense for promoting easy access to weapons of war on city streets plagued by senseless gun violence.

It often takes an unspeakable tragedy to motivate public action. But substantial changes to how America handles the legal ownership of guns must be done through lawmakers on the national level. And that is why Bloomberg’s Super PAC already has spent $2.1 million in the Illinois congressional race.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Halvorson says Bloomberg is 'trying to buy the election,' accuses Kelly and the group of violating the federal ban on coordination between PACs and candidates, and says voters in the district resent the outside intrusion.”

Since the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of money into political campaigns in 2010 with their Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission decision, just about everyone with money to burn is “trying to buy” elections. So, Halvorson's complaint is scarcely legitimate.

The same holds true for NRA claims that President Barack Obama is somehow plotting to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens and repeal the Second Amendment.

In fact, no president can unilaterally change the Constitution.

In order to repeal the Second Amendment, the proposal would have to pass both the House and Senate with a two-thirds majority vote. After that, three-fourths of all 50 states would have to ratify the measure.

If NRA boss Wayne LaPierre wants to scare people into thinking that the constitutional right to own guns is going to disappear virtually overnight because Barack Obama wants it to, he is mistaken.

It is so difficult to amend the Constitution, it hasn’t been done since the 27th Amendment was adopted in 1992 after first being submitted for ratification by the states in 1789. It pertained to the rules on how Congress gets paid. Not exactly a hot-button issue.

The campaign advertising wars between Bloomberg and the NRA is over the Illinois 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is facing criminal prosecution for alleged misuse of campaign funds.

If Bloomberg is successful in using his money to beat the NRA at the ballot box this year, the strategy could prove powerful in shaping the outcome of the 2014 midterm elections.

A special election to fill Jackson’s seat will be held April 9.

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