New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a $12 million ad campaign with his own money to help pass gun control legislation
The ad campaign targets 15 senators, both Democrats and Republicans, in 13 states who have been identified as open to changing their positions on legislation restricting guns that has been introduced in Congress.
“If 90 percent of the public wants something, and their representatives vote against that, common sense says they are going to have a price to pay for that,” Bloomberg said on Meet the Press on Sunday.
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The first ad, which ran Monday, features a bearded hunter cradling a rifle, kids and a tire swing in the background. The hunter says he believes in the 2nd amendment, his right to hunt and to protect his family, but he also believes in the need to close loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
The legislation that Bloomberg is pushing calls for comprehensive background checks for people purchasing firearms. According to Demand Action, a citizen advocacy group pushing for universal background check requirements, an estimated 40% of gun transfers take place without going through a licensed dealer, including online and at gun shows. This loophole means that in 2012, 6.6 million guns were sold with no background check for the buyer, the group said.
Polls show that the public overwhelmingly supports universal background checks.
Bloomberg wants to keep Americans’ attention on the tragedy of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and take action before emotions cool.
Legislation to ban assault rifles, introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstien, D-Calif., has been dropped from the bill, but will likely come up for a yes or no vote as an amendment. Bloomburg acknowledges that passage of an assault rifle ban is problematic at this point in time.
Bluooberg, who is co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a 900-plus member coalition of mayors, was blasted by Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association.
Charging that Bloomberg is trying to “buy America” La Pierre told Meet the Press, in a separate segment, that Americans “don’t want him in their restaurants, they don’t want him in their food, they don’t want him telling them what food to eat, they sure don’t want him telling them what self-defense firearms to own.”
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The references to restaurants and food refer to the mayor’s anti-obesity efforts in New York City.
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