New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to stamp out gun violence were challenged over the Labor Day weekend by a spate of shootings in the city, says the New York Times. Bullets flew at house parties, along parade routes, and across stoops and street corners. By the end of Monday, 13 people had been killed and 67 injured in 52 shootings since early last Friday. The toll stunned veteran police officers, leading some to wonder if violent crime, which has declined across the city for many years, was rising significantly. But at week's end, the city's overall crime rate had barely inched up: a 0.1 percent increase over last year.
The violence and the guns that caused it were recurring themes struck by the mayor at several public appearances during the weekend. His comments were aimed at pressuring Washington for more stringent gun laws, but the violence also illustrated that for all the mayor's efforts, unlicensed guns remain in the hands of criminals — and that admonitions can go only so far. Nine years into Bloomberg's tenure, it remains difficult to discern what effect his administration's gun control efforts have had. Through Sunday, the number of shootings in the city had dropped slightly, to 1,000 from 1,029 in the same period a year ago, despite the weekend surge. Prof. Eugene O'Donnell of John Jay College of Criminal Justice said that blaming a lack of stronger federal gun control can fuel cynicism and despair in dangerous neighborhoods by sending the unintended message that solutions to violent gun crime are beyond the city's control.