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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bloomberg Plans to Spend $50 Million to Create "Grassroots" Support for Gun Control

The New York Times has this story on how Michael Bloomberg is going to spend $50 million creating an "umbrella group" to create grassroots support for gun control:
Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.
Looking to model his approach after Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Times reports that Bloomberg is going to get away from the usual TV advertising campaigns that have long been a staple of the gun ban groups and plans to:
...put a large portion of his resources into the often-unseen field operations that have been effective for groups like the N.R.A. in driving single-issue, like-minded voters to the polls.

He's basically personally taking over Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Shannon Watts' Moms Demand Action, putting them into a new group called Everytown for Gun Safety.  Never mind that none of these groups have anything to do with teaching gun safety, and everything to do with banning firearms they don't like.

Democrats who want to retain control of the U.S. Senate have been less than thrilled with Bloomberg's efforts of late since he has targeted "Red State" Democrats as well as Republicans who did not support his positions.  Trying to put forth a bipartisan persona, he is also creating an advisory board that include individuals associated with both parties.
Underscoring his desire to work with both parties, Mr. Bloomberg is bringing on a new advisory board with prominent Republican and Democratic figures. Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush; Eli Broad, the philanthropist; Warren Buffett, the investor; and Michael G. Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Mr. Bush and President Obama, will all be board members.

The difference between the NRA and gun ban groups is the NRA has actual members who have some skin in the game - protecting their rights.  They own firearms and want to continue to be able to do so.  That's why even though the paid membership of the NRA is only about 5 million out of an estimated 110 million gun owners, a lot more than 5 million people associate their views with that of the NRA.  I'm not really sure there is this groundswell in a segment of the public to do for the gun ban lobby what gun owners are willing to do to protect their rights like volunteering to help like minded politicians and get out an vote for that issue, sometimes at the expense of other issues they support.

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