Bloomberg on gun control: 'Throw them up against the wall and frisk them'

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Audio surfaced online this week of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg candidly talking crime and gun control, stating that the "only way to get guns out of kids hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them."

Bloomberg, 73, spoke to the Aspen Institute on Feb. 6, on a wide range of topics that mostly focused on his political endeavors.


The mayor reiterated his well-known views about crime in minority communities, saying it was necessary to put more cops in those neighborhoods and have them be more aggressive to get guns off the streets, according to audio of the speech released by the conservative blog The Daily Caller on Tuesday night.

Bloomberg on policing: Hear the audio Mike Bloomberg's controversial comments have leaked.

"It's controversial, but ... 95% of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims fit one M.O.," Bloomberg said. "They are male, minorities, 15 to 25. That's true in New York, it's true in virtually every city in America."

He added, "You've got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. First thing you can do to help that group is to keep them alive."

When asked for comment about the discussion, Stu Loeser, the former mayor's spokesman, reiterated that Bloomberg has made similar comments while in office and calling it "indisputable, unfortunate facts."

"As he said hundreds of times, we need common-sense gun laws in Washington and policing focused on high crime areas to stop them from getting killed," Loeser said in a statement."

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The city's overall crime rate dropped 32% between 2001 and 2013, according to police statistics. Although Bloomberg has been open about his policing views, the Aspen Times reported that his team asked the institute not to release the video of the speech, which they reported had 400 people in attendance.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who put restrictions on stop and frisk soon after taking office, said he didn't hear Bloomberg's comments but called the practice "counterproductive" and hurtful towards good community police relations.


"It's unfair to the vast majority of innocent people who were treated that way," he said Thursday.

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which sued the city over stop and frisk, chastised Bloomberg for continuing to promote the policy, noting that it only resulted in a gun seizure "less than .2% of the time."

"New York City cops and New York City residents know that we can have both security and dignity. The former mayor is the only one who seems to think those two are mutually exclusive," she said in a statement.

Bloomberg acknowledged that stop and frisk is controversial, stressed the tactic resulted in lower crime rates. He noted earlier in the panel that politicians come under more scrutiny for taking risks.

"In science if you go down a path that turns out to be a dead end, other scientists would say you've done a great thing, because you now freed them from having them explore that possibility and let them devote their resources to other paths," he said. "If you try this in government, they call you a failure.""