Former New York mayor and gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg has big plans for the future, and it involves challenging the NRA on the issue of guns in America. Bloomberg told The New York Times that he plans on spending $50 million to build a “grass-roots network” to push for more restrictive gun laws. His plan involves the merger of two of the nation’s most well-known gun control groups: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The new, larger organization will be called Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Everytown is a movement of moms, teachers, survivors, gun owners, mayors, faith leaders, law enforcement officials and other responsible citizens who believe we can do much more to keep our families and communities safe from gun violence,” read a statement on momsdemandaction.org. “For the first time in history, Americans from all walks of life will mobilize to create a counterweight to the gun lobby and fight for common-sense gun laws at the federal, state and local level.”
The merger comes shortly after recent comments by Bloomberg that he plans to “outspend” the NRA. With a promise of $50 million, some experts say that Bloomberg could do exactly that. According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the gun rights group’s political and lobbying arm has an annual budget of $25 million.
“I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,” Bloomberg told the Times, describing his previous contributions to environmental initiatives. “Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.”
OutdoorHub reached out to the NRA for comment and was told that the organization will have a lot more to say on the matter at its 2014 meeting in Indianapolis later this month.
Other groups were much more vocal about Bloomberg’s ambitions.
“He’s got the money to waste,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. “So I guess he’s free to do so.”