On Wednesday, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he’ll be setting plans in motion to spend $50 million towards tightening gun control.
The billionaire philanthropist’s money will fund a campaign group that aims to reduce gun violence across the United States, with hopes to win over the “hearts and minds of Americans” on “gun violence prevention.”
Vowing to take on the National Rifle Association (NRA), Bloomberg has moms, police officers, and mayors on his side with the creation of “Everytown for Gun Safety”, an advocacy group built on"grass roots" movements that supports gun violence prevention, responsible gun ownership, tighter gun laws for states, universal background checks, and battles gun trafficking. Currently, background checks aren’t mandatory for firearm sales at estate sales or gun shows.
“This is the beginning of a major new campaign to reduce the gun violence that plagues communities across the country,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “There is no question that more needs to be done to tackle this deadly problem.”
Bloomberg expects Everytown for Gun Safety to act as an umbrella organization for two smaller groups: Mayors Against Illegal Guns (which Bloomberg founded with then-Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D)) and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, founded by Shannon Watts, a stay-at-home mother.
Prior initiatives for mandatory universal background checks have failed; in 2013, Senator Charles Schumer (D) of New York authored a bill set on making background checks universally mandatory – he didn’t have enough support for the bill to face congress.
In an interview published Tuesday with The New York Times, Bloomberg said: “You’ve got to work at it piece by piece.”
“One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’ ”
The backlashes haven’t stopped 16 states from taking initiative and strengthening requirements for background checks before gun purchases, Bloomberg told Savannah Guthrie of the "Today” show Wednesday morning.
During his appearance on the “Today” show, Bloomberg said: “It isn’t about gun control.”
“This is simply making sure that people that everybody agrees should not be allowed to buy a gun – criminals, minors, [and] people with psychiatric problems.”
Currently, Everytown has 1.5 million members across the nation, with aspirations to garner a million more by the year’s end.