Bloomberg's Coalition Takes Gun-Control Fight to State Legislatures

Image: Bloomberg's Coalition Takes Gun-Control Fight to State Legislatures

Monday, 03 Jun 2013 10:59 AM

By Courtney Coren

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-control group is taking the fight for stricter gun laws to state capitals across the nation following Congress' failure to move on any new legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings last December.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns has hired more than 50 people to lobby on behalf of various gun proposals that have been introduced in state legislatures, most recently in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut, The New York Times reports.

The bills, aimed at curbing gun violence, include expanded background checks and regulations for private gun sales.

The coalition of mayors has been successful in more liberal states such as Maryland, Delaware, and Connecticut, but it is facing increased challenges in states with a large number of gun enthusiasts.

In Nevada, for example, the mayors have helped jump-start a bill that had stalled over its proposed criminal background checks for all private gun sales, including those made at gun shows and online. The group is trying to get enough Republican votes to protect it from a potential veto by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.

But some Republicans think the Bloomberg group lobbyists have gone too far in some instances in trying to push legislation.

For example, the Times noted, Nevada Senate Republican leader Michael Roberson complained about lobbyists showing up at his home in an effort to convince his wife to support the measure and help influence her husband's position.

In addition to expanding its on-the-ground lobbying effort, the coalition of mayors has put money toward television ads in states where gun measures are before the legislature. The group is running ads against lawmakers and candidates who fail to support tougher gun laws.

The efforts by Bloomberg and his group have ignited anger among some across the country, as was made clear last week when letters containing the deadly poison ricin were sent to the mayor and to his coalition's headquarters. A similar letter was sent to President Barack Obama.

But Bloomberg, undaunted, says he plans to intensify his efforts to have tougher gun laws enacted after he leaves office in December.

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