Right-wing media outlets are reporting that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an advocate of gun violence prevention, denied the National Guard entry into Brooklyn to aid victims in the wake of Hurricane Sandy because members of the National Guard carry firearms. In fact, during the press conference the critics are citing, Bloomberg said he opposed having the Guard patrol the streets because he believed the New York Police Department was sufficiently equipped to protect the public and that the Guard would be better used in locations with smaller police forces.
During an October 31 press conference, Bloomberg was asked to respond to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's request for additional National Guard resources to deter criminal activity. Bloomberg responded that "The National Guard has been helpful, but the NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns," adding that "[w]e don't need it" and that the troops would be better used for that purpose in "locations upstate and into surrounding states where they don't have a police department the size of New York."
REPORTER: Mr. Mayor, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz has a question, additional National Guard in Brooklyn, do you agree?
BLOOMBERG: No, we appreciate the help. The National Guard has been helpful, but the NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns. We don't need it. There has been one or two minor outbreakings, disgraceful as they may be, looting reported in the paper, but the vast bulk of people are doing the right thing. And in Brooklyn people are safe the same way they are in the rest of the city. We have the resources, the NYPD is 100 percent confident that we can protect the public, we've been doing this for an awful long time. You just have to take a look at the crime rate to understand how good a job this is. And the National Guard has plenty of responsibilities. There are plenty of locations upstate and into surrounding states where they don't have a police department the size of New York, and they can use help from the state, and that's where they should be.
Fox Nation, Breitbart.com, Hot Air, Human Events, The Gateway Pundit, and The Blaze all credulously repeated the suggestion made by Newbusters that Bloomberg indicated during the press conference that he "wouldn't let" the Guard into the city because they had firearms. Some blogs suggested that Bloomberg's comments at the press conference are somehow related to his involvement in gun violence prevention.
Moreover, there is no evidence to support the assertion that the National Guard has been kept out of Brooklyn or any other part of New York City. The very same day of Bloomberg's press conference, members of the National Guard evacuated Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after power was lost. According to the Department of Defense, the National Guard is currently aiding in distributing fuel in the New York City boroughs of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.
UPDATE: On the November 5 edition of Cam & Company of National Rifle Association News, host Cam Edwards pushed the falsehood that Bloomberg would not allow the National Guard to enter Brooklyn because its members carry firearms. Edwards also concocted a baseless claim that Bloomberg would not allow the National Guard to provide relief supplies to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Guest Tom King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, stated that Bloomberg is "becoming a psychopath" because "if you can't trust the National Guard, who can you trust?" Edwards went on to suggest that New York City is "the very definition of a police state."
CAM EDWARDS, HOST: We've seen Mayor Bloomberg and his anti-gun zealotry really reach new proportions, new heights here. According to one of the Brooklyn papers, in fact it's called The Brooklyn Paper, Mayor Bloomberg denied a request by the borough president to bring the National Guard to help with things like looting and making sure folks have some relief supplies, because he said that the NYPD are the only folks who should have guns on the street. And so he would not let the National Guard do their job in Brooklyn.
TOM KING: You know, he is becoming a psychopath. You know, if you can't trust the National Guard who can you trust?
EDWARDS: I got to tell you, when I heard that I thought no that can't be real. I mean that's just cartoonish in its anti-gun attitude. Because, you're right, if you are now saying you know look not only I don't trust the people, I don't trust the National Guard. And yet, I guess Bloomberg said he was worried, he didn't want New York to be a police state. I got news for Mayor Bloomberg, if you say that the only people on the street who should have guns are the NYPD, isn't that, Tom, the very definition of a police state?