Former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has announced a new initiative to address gun violence by mobilizing voters to support "common-sense gun policies."
The initiative will bring Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, gun control groups already funded by Bloomberg, under one umbrella group called Everytown for Gun Safety. Bloomberg told the New York Times he plans to spend $50 million in 2014 on the initiative, which will focus not on passing federal bans on specific weapons but on expanding the background check system for gun buyers.
In an effort to counter the gun lobby's efforts at the federal and state levels, Everytown for Gun Safety will launch a "Gun Sense Voter" campaign aimed at mobilizing a million more voters to back candidates who support gun control legislation. The campaign will target elections in fifteen states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington — and will focus on women voters, especially mothers. In addition, the group's advocacy arm, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, will form a supporter-funded political action committee and will create candidate questionnaires and scorecards to inform voters of candidates' previous support for gun safety measures.
Gun control advocates need to learn from the National Rifle Association and hold politicians who fail to support their agenda to account, Bloomberg told the Times. Reflecting the former mayor's desire to work with members of both parties, however, Everytown for Gun Safety's advisory board has both Republicans and Democrats, including Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Department of Homeland Security secretary; Warren Buffett and Eli Broad; and Michael G. Mullen, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"This isn't just an urban problem, or a mass shooting problem. It can, and it does, happen in every town," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. "And it will take every mayor, every mom, and every one of us to persuade our policy makers that we have to do more to protect our kids and our communities."