Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is willing to spend $50 million this year to foster a grass-roots movement to take on the gun lobby, The New York Times
Everytown for Gun Safety, a new umbrella group, will amalgamate Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The idea is to apply some of the same single-minded, single-issue zeal used by the National Rifle Association to make the pro-gun control case.
Bloomberg said gun opponents need to be willing to target Democrats who are soft on gun control.
The Bloomberg-funded group, modeled partly after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, wants to turn women into a political force against guns.
"Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on healthcare," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, told the Times. "We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention."
Everytown will have an advisory board that includes former Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Ridge, who was Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush, builder and philanthropist Eli Broad, investor Warren Buffett, and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen.
The group, focusing on 15 states, will push for expanding background checks for gun buyers on the state and federal levels. It aims to sign up 1 million followers in 2014 to add to the 1.5 million already on board.
Bloomberg's previous anti-gun spending achieved little. Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said Bloomberg is free to waste his money, but he will keep on losing, the Times reported.
Bloomberg, 72, has advocated against guns, obesity, and smoking, in addition to donating to environmental causes.
Speaking of the NRA, Bloomberg told the Times: "They say, 'We don't care. We're going to go after you. If you don't vote with us, we're going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we're never going to stop.'"
Bloomberg added: "We've got to make them afraid of us."
The NRA spends about $20 million annually on political activity, according to the Times.
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