The former mayor of New York stepped into the presidential race after a couple of rabid gun grabbers had already exited the state. Rep. Eric “Nuke ’em All” Swalwell and Beto “Take ’em All” O’Rourke couldn’t get a toehold in the crowded field and dropped out of the race. Then Bloomberg steps in with billions to his name and a history of backing gun control and automatically gets 4 percent of the vote.

It’s not enough to get him on the next debate stage, but that’s not really a big deal for his campaign just yet. After all, it just kicked off.

But it’s also useful for people to understand just what Michael Bloomberg is. The one-time Republican turned anti-gun crusader appears to some on the anti-gun side be a billionaire with a conscience, the guy who saw a problem that went against his party’s position and stepped in to solve it, politics be damned.

Yet, I wouldn’t buy into it.

You see, Michael Bloomberg doesn’t appear to be anything of the sort. Oh, he’s spent plenty backing gun control. The problem is, he’s a poster boy for anti-gun ignorance and/or lies.

First, we have an interview he did a couple of weeks ago where he seemed to not understand the difference between semi-automatic and automatic firearms. How does a man dedicate so much of his life to gun control and not pick up anything at all about guns? I’m not expecting him to be able to identify models by sight or anything, but he should have at least learned about the difference between automatic and semi-automatic, right?

However, it doesn’t look like that’s an isolated example of his ignorance.

Michael Bloomberg, who has spent years bankrolling the gun-control movement, fumbled facts and made muddled claims on how gun laws work while laying out his campaign’s gun-control plan on Thursday.

Bloomberg appeared to misunderstand what the FBI’s firearms background check system does, seemed to make up a new “loophole” in federal gun laws, and made questionable claims about gun use among young people during a campaign speech in Aurora, Colo.

Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars boosting the gun-control movement, Bloomberg’s comments suggest he lacks a basic familiarity with the details of firearms laws, sales, and operation. Thursday’s strange claims are just the latest example of Bloomberg demonstrating an apparent confusion about an issue he has described as his “life’s work.”

The question is, why is he so confused? Is he outright lying because he knows Democrats won’t know the difference or is he genuinely that clueless when it comes to guns?

Frankly, I’m inclined to believe it’s the former.

Now, I generally live by the idea that one should never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence. People tend to screw up more often than they’re outright evil, after all. However, with Bloomberg, I can’t really go that route.

For one thing, how does one dedicate their life supposedly to a particular cause and never actually learn about which laws are already in place? It would seem to me that one would have to work very hard to maintain that level of ignorance. They’d have to never read an op-ed from the pro-gun side and have worked hard to make sure they never had to debate the issue face-to-face.

I find it hard to believe anyone in his position could be that isolated.

Plus, there’s the fact that he values keeping people ignorant.

You see, Bloomberg is also the owner of Bloomberg News, which is generally thought of as a financial news site, but also covers politics. It seems Mikey has a policy that Bloomberg reporters aren’t allowed to investigate him or his family for any reason. He’s apparently extended that rule to include his primary opponents. (Apparently, the president is still fair game, though.)

As my good friend, veteran newspaperman, and one-time Bearing Arms contributor Pat Richardson wrote at his own blog:

So last week the New York Post had a story circulating quoting billionaire presidential candidate and Bloomberg News founder Michael Bloomberg as saying journalists will just have to “learn to live with it,” following reports that he’s banned his outlet from investigating him or any other Democrat.

My first response was unprintable. No, really it was incoherent screeching.

My second response was, excuse my French, “Oh HELL no, that’s not how this works.”

Pat and I have discussed this between us and we’re in agreement. We both worked in the newspaper business, both at a high level in those papers (Pat was the managing editor and I was a publisher), and there’s no way in hell we’d have allowed that to fly.

Yet that also raises the question of just what does Bloomberg think his people might find?

It also suggests that he doesn’t want people to be exposed to the truth, that he values ignorance over information. That’s a strange position for someone who owns a news agency to be in, of course, but it also suggests that Bloomberg isn’t the most honest of sorts.

While it’s impossible to know what is hiding there without digging into it, Bloomberg’s entire schtick as a “good” Republican who saw the error of his ways doesn’t pass the sniff test. Instead, his actions suggest he’s an authoritarian jackwagon to a far greater degree than anyone else running in the race.

He’s a man with plenty to hide, apparently, and he damn sure doesn’t want anyone to be able to defend themselves from his authoritarian impulses. All of this paints the portrait of a man we really don’t need in the oval office, and that should transcend party.