Bloomberg launches new $50 million gun control effort

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) plans to spend as much as $50 million on the 2014 elections aiming to push new gun control measures in 2014 through a new organization announced Wednesday.

The effort, "Everytown for Gun Safety," will attempt to combat the vast influence of the National Rifle Association, which has repeatedly beaten back calls for increased gun regulations -- including in 2013.

The group is already up with a 90-second web ad featuring a dramatization of a young girl discovering a gun during a game of hide and seek and accidentally firing it as a boy discovers her in the closet.

The effort was first reported by the New York Times' Jeremy W. Peters.

The new organization will combine Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- a group formed by Bloomberg and former Boston mayor Tom Menino -- and another group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which was founded shortly after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. Those shootings were the impetus for the latest failed attempt at increased background checks for gun-buyers.

“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 1000 mayors and moms in all 50 states have already come together to fight for common-sense reform that will respect rights and save lives," Bloomberg said in a statement. "This new organization will bring more people into the fight against gun violence, which affects every town in America.”

Bloomberg told Peters that the group needs to be as ruthless as the NRA when it comes to punishing would-be allies who don't toe the line.

"They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’" Bloomberg said. “ ‘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.”

Needless to say, this is a tough climb. Bloomberg has already been fighting this battle for a while through Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- with relatively little impact. And he's hardly the first entrant in the anti-NRA sweepstakes; a group founded by ex-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly has also been trying to assert itself.

Bloomberg's announcement, naturally, quickly earned the ire of conservatives, especially for the final paragraph of Peters's piece, in which the former mayor muses that he has secured his spot in heaven.

"I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed," Blooomberg said. "I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Updated at 8:20 a.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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