Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York city, is a well known proponent of stricter gun control laws in the US, especially in the wake of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado in which 12 people were killed and 51 injured.
He criticized both President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney for failing to address the issue in the wake of the tragedy, saying: “Soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it.”
Since making those statements the mayor’s position on gun control appeared a little shaky as it was revealed that his police department, the NYPD, sold 28,000lbs of spent bullet casings to a store which reloads them and sells them cheaply to customers.
The casings were recovered from the NYPD’s firearms range and sold to Georgia Arms in June. The store paid the NYPD $69,696 for a barrel of bullet casings weighing 28,800lbs, the New York Times reported.
Georgia’s gun laws are more lax than New York city’s and no identification or registration is required to buy the bullets.
Previously the force has sold the casings to scrap metal dealers but this is thought to be the first know occasion it has sold to a gun store.
The store reloads the casings, turning them back into live ammunition which it then sells in packs of 50 bullets, for about $15 each.
The transaction would be illegal in New York City, where ammunition can be bought only by those who have a gun license. Obtaining a gun license in New York is harder than in most other states in the US.
A spokesman for the Mayor denied that the revelation undermined Mr Bloomberg’s position on gun control.
John Feinblatt, the mayor’s chief policy adviser, said: “He believes that our purpose is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, not keep guns or ammunition away from law-abiding citizens.
“There’s a big distinction between legal dealers and illegal dealers and criminals and law-abiding citizens. We’re about crime control. We’re not about gun control.”