Michael Bloomberg to Spend $50M on Anti-Gun-Violence Organization
The former NYC mayor has launched a nationwide, grass-roots group that he hopes will outmuscle the NRA.
Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million this year building an anti-gun-violence organization that he hopes will ultimately outmuscle the NRA.
The Bloomberg LP founder, who's also a member of The Hollywood Reporter's 2014 New York media power list, intends to establish a nationwide grass-roots network designed to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence.
The organization, known as Everytown for Gun Safety, marks Bloomberg's first major political investment since leaving office.
The organization describes itself as "a movement of Americans fighting for common-sense policies that will reduce gun violence and save lives."
The former New York City major said in a New York Times story announcing the establishment of Everytown that those who want to curb gun violence need to learn from the NRA and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda.
“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’” Bloomberg told The Times of the NRA. "‘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.’ We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
Women and mothers, in particular, will be the focus of Everytown's organizing and outreach, The Times reported, a pattern he and his advisers modeled after groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Bloomberg explained that his efforts will require time and dedication.
“You’ve got to work at it piece by piece,” he told The Times. “One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’”
Everytown supporters will also back candidates and legislation that will save lives and raise awareness of the ways in which gun violence affects all Americans.
“This is the beginning of a major new campaign to reduce the gun violence that plagues communities across the country,” Bloomberg said in a statement announcing the group's establishment. “There is no question that more needs to be done to tackle this deadly problem, and that’s why more than 1.5 million Americans, nearly 1,000 mayors and moms in all 50 states have already come together to fight for common-sense reform that will respect rights and save lives. This new organization will bring more people into the fight against gun violence, which affects every town in America.”
Everytown comprises the existing gun-control groups Bloomberg funds: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Thanks to these former groups, Everytown has more than 1.5 million supporters, making it the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country, but the organization hopes to have 2.5 million supporters a year from now.
Bloomberg was a big supporter of legislation to require comprehensive gun background checks, which failed in the Senate last year.
Everytown will continue to push for legislation that includes comprehensive background checks and enhanced protections for the victims of domestic violence.
Everytown's advisory board includes Eli Broad, Warren Buffett and Huffington Post co-founder Ken Lerer.
Bloomberg, who also appeared on NBC's Today to discuss his new organization, cautioned that his organization will not focus on gun control.
Now that he's left office, the former mayor said he plans to work to better the lives of his and future generations.
“I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to make a better world for myself, for my kids, for my grandchildren," he said.
When asked if he plans to run for president, he said "No … plain and simple." Indeed, Bloomberg doesn't seem to miss public life.
When asked if he misses being mayor, the media executive said, "No," without hesitation.
The NRA declined to comment on The Times' report about Bloomberg's initiative.
Watch Bloomberg's full Today interview below.