New York, NY, United States (4E) – Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is pouring $50 million to build a grass-roots network that will lobby for stricter gun control laws.
The money will go to the newly-created group Everytown for Gun Safety, an umbrella group of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that Bloomberg also co-founded and funds. Everytown will place field staff in states across the country and rally 2.5 million supporters to vote for candidates who support common-sense gun laws.
The group also will seek to advance Bloomberg’s anti-gun violence agenda: the expansion of the background check system for gun buyers both at the state and national levels.
“This is not a battle of dollars. This is a battle for the hearts and minds of America, so that we can protect our children, protect innocent people,” Bloomberg said Tuesday on NBC’s Today show. “If you take a look at the number of people who use illegal guns to commit suicide, the number of people that are killed every year, we’re the only civilized country in the world that has this problem. We have to do something.”
The new group scheduled launching events in Philadelphia, Columbus, Atlanta and Tucson.
Everytown will have as its advisers from the two political spectrums. They are former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, philanthropist Eli Broad, investor Warren Buffett and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, Michael G. Mullen.
Everytown is seen to rival the National Rifle Association, which spent $16 million in lobbying for gun rights in 2012. The NRA has raised nearly $14 million for its campaign this year.
Bloomberg has been funding gun-control initiatives over the years, and is one of the most prominent advocates of change in the nation’s gun laws and culture.