Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using his billions to take his advocacy for tighter gun control laws beyond his elected office in New York City, and out to a variety of states across the country.
The New York Times reports that beginning on Monday, Bloomberg will roll out a $12 million national advertising campaign to persuade members of congress to support a package of new federal gun regulations. Thirteen states are targeted, including swing states, like Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona. But heavily partisan states that contain some of the most vulnerable Democrats heading into 2014, like Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu and Arkansas senator Mark Pryor, will also see the ads.
“The NRA has just had this field to itself,” said Bloomberg. “It’s the only one that’s been speaking out. It’s time for another voice.”
On Sunday’s edition of NBC’s “Meet the Press” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre responded to Bloomberg’s gun control offensive. “He can’t spend enough of his $27 billion to try and impose his will on the American public. He can’t buy America.”
One of the goals of Bloomberg’s ad buy is to galvanize support for comprehensive background checks. LaPierre, however, said that the current system only serves to inconvenience law-abiding gun owners without catching the criminals.
“We’re 5 million families. We’re 80,000 law enforcement families. We want to make people safe. That’s what the NRA does every day,” LaPierre added.
Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, uses 2011 FBI data to estimate that 6.6 million firearm transfers are made annually without a background check.
The Senate is scheduled to debate the pending gun control legislation next month when it returns from its Easter Recess, which runs through April 5. Senate majority leader Harry Reid intends to include a universal background check provision in the gun control package he’s preparing for the Senate floor. But he’s already ruled out including a renew of the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Bloomberg took that decision by Reid in stride, saying, “You don’t want to lose everything in the interest of getting the perfect.”