Should Bloomberg Blame Guns or Criminals for Labor Day Weekend Violence?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

New York City mayor and outspoken gun critic Michael Bloomberg is blaming a rash of shootings in the city over the Labor Day weekend on the easy availability of firearms.

But should he be blaming the criminals instead of the guns?

The New York Daily News reports at least 48 people were shot over the three-day holiday, three fatally. Those numbers include a wild shootout Monday night that capped the violent weekend -- two dead and eight wounded at the city's annual West Indian Parade. Two police officers were among the wounded.

"There must have been 50 or 60 shots fired," one witness told the newspaper. "I saw two people shot down on the ground. It was incredible. I ran for my life."

Even before this latest shooting Bloomberg called on Washington to step in and stop the flow of guns. He repeated it after visiting the officers in the hospital.

"It was a senseless murder and another painful reminder of how federal officials fail to take the problem of gun violence seriously. It is a matter of life and death and in this case, the death was of an innocent New Yorker," Bloomberg said of the killing of 56-year-old Denise Gay, who was hit with a stray bullet as she sat on her front stoop watching the parade.

But is Bloomberg's anger misplaced? The old adage "Guns don't kill people -- people kill people" could certainly come into play here. And in the tragic case of Denise Gay, the person who allegedly killed her had an extensive criminal history, including criminal possession of a firearm, as well as assault and drug charges, according to New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Should Bloomberg blame that criminal instead of all guns?