Former mayor Michael Bloomberg will be spending $50 million this year to build a national network to fight gun violence, he announced on Tuesday.
Bloomberg told The New York Times that gun-control advocates need to learn from the NRA–especially the lobbying group’s policy of punishing politicians who don’t support them. “They say, ‘we don’t care. We’re going to go after you,'” Bloomberg said. “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
In the short term, Bloomberg wants to pass legislation to tightened background checks on gun buyers.
“Nobody’s going to take anyone’s gun away,” Bloomberg said on the Today show on Wednesday. “It’s just making sure the handful of people who shouldn’t have guns don’t have their hands on them.”
Bloomberg’s organization will focus on the work of mothers, a course of action modeled after successful groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He will be bringing the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America–as well as his own Mayors Against Illegal Guns– into a new umbrella organization called Everytown for Gun Safety. He appeared with Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action on the Today show.
“The gun lobby has done a good job of making people afraid people are going to take their guns away. I’m afraid people are going to take my children away,” Watts said.
Bloomberg said he is not worried about his legacy, telling the Times that his work on gun safety, obesity and anti-smoking has made it so that “when I get to heave, I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”