In his first major political investment since leaving office, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans to build a nationwide network aimed at curbing gun violence and battling the National Rifle Association, according to published reports.
Bloomberg told the New York Times that he is planning to spend $50 million this year to establish the grassroots gun control lobbying group, called Everytown for Gun Safety.
The new organization will encompass two other Bloomberg-funded gun control groups – Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – and will first take aim at expanding background checks for gun buyers both at the state and national levels, according to the Times.
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Everytown for Gun Safety will borrow from some of the NRA’s field operation tactics to grow influence, targeting mothers and other women that might be swayed on gun issues. The group has already targeted 15 states across the country with varying views on gun control, with the goal of recruiting 1 million new supporters.
“Right now, women, when they go to the polls, they vote on abortion, they vote on jobs, they vote on health care,” Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts told the Times. “We want one of those things to be gun violence prevention.”
Bloomberg said he wanted work with both parties on gun control efforts and assembled an advisory board of Republican and Democratic officials, philanthropists and investors.
The former mayor's $50 million contribution would more than double the NRA’s $20 million in annual spending on political activities, the Times reports. Bloomberg hinted that his contributions to the cause could grow.
“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” he told the Times. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”
Bloomberg and Watts appeared on NBC's TODAY show Wednesday morning to talk about the group.