Mayor Bloomberg has said he has no plans to run for higher office, but his travel schedule of late has looked a lot like that of a national candidate.
After trips to California and Pennsylvania in the last two weeks, Mr. Bloomberg is scheduled to travel to Massachusetts on Thursday, where he will join Boston's mayor, Thomas Menino, for a gun-control event.
Although officials for the mayors have not said what will be announced at the event, Boston and New York have pursued gun legislation in the past and the New England city could follow Mr. Bloomberg's lead in suing out-of-state gun dealers this time around.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Menino, Jennifer Mehigan, said yesterday the city has no plans to do so.
A professor at Albany Law School, Timothy Lytton, said Mr. Bloomberg's latest gun dealer lawsuits could be hard to replicate.
Mr. Lytton — who wrote an Op-Ed in the Boston Globe in August under the headline "The Sting: New York Has Devised An Ingenious Approach to Stopping the Flow of Guns into the City. Could it Work for Boston?" — said cities need federal gun trace data to pinpoint delinquent dealers and sue
them. Not all cities have gun trace data, and Congress is currently considering legislation to restrict its use.
Mr. Bloomberg's latest round of lawsuits has taken a more targeted approach by going after specific dealers for illegal sales. The new approach could open the door for other cities to do the same.
Mr. Menino, who with Mr. Bloomberg co-hosted 15 city mayors at a gun summit in April, filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturers and distributors in 1999, but dropped it in 2002 because it was costing the city $30,000 a month.
The trip to Boston comes less than a week after Mr. Bloomberg traveled to Harrisburg, Pa., to join the mayor of Philadelphia, John Street, and other Pennsylvania mayors in lobbying for stricter gun laws. Less than two weeks ago, he flew to California for appearances with the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and with Governor Schwarzenegger, another maverick Republican.
Political analysts said that while Mr. Bloomberg has publicly denied he has plans to run for president in 2008, his actions have suggested otherwise. In addition to telling a crowd at a fundraiser in June that anyone running would deny it, he also has had dinner with a centrist Democratic political adviser, Al From, and has aligned himself with like-minded politicians who have bucked their political parties.