Michael Bloomberg’s “major policy announcement” today was, actually, to say he’ll support tougher gun laws here, including one that makes it a felony to carry a gun while drunk.
Another proposal would broaden the definition of what are considered illegal bullets, and to increase penalties for possession of those bullets to “a minimum of one year.”
The penalty for “carrying while intoxicated” would be a $10,000 fine and a year in jail.
The penalty for transferring a gun to a minor would be a minimum sentence of three-and-a-half years in jail.
I asked Bloomberg if these minimum sentences would prevent judges and prosecutors from steering people into alternatives to jail, like community service.
“I think what happened in the past is that judges exercised so much flexibility that nobody went to jail,” Bloomberg said. He added, “the state determined that three-and-a-half years, minimum, for carrying a loaded gun, was appropriate.”
Campaigning against illegal guns is one of Bloomberg’s nonpartisan initiatives that he has won national attention for and which has strengthened his support among Democrats.
On hand for today’s announcement was Peter Vallone, Jr., a Democratic City Councilman from Queens. Vallone, who endorsed Bloomberg in 2005 – and whose brother was endorsed by Bloomberg in a City Council race in Bayside – said he was not making an endorsement yet in this year’s mayor’s race.