Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, spent money to assist Colorado lawmakers who supported Colorado's new gun law and who were facing a recall election last year. His efforts and $350,000 failed to save their seats in the legislature.
Now, he is trying again with a more grassroots effort, committing up to $50 million to build a base for more reasonable gun laws. The program is called Everytown for Gun Safety.
What might be different this time around? The focus is on women, especially mothers, and those who have been directly or indirectly affected by gun violence. The effort will operate at the local level and consider not just federal laws, but state and local legislative issues, as well. Also, the goal will be seen as long term. There is no expectation that the organization will be able to suddenly change the national landscape in one or two election cycles. Bloomberg insists he is in it for the long haul.
Everytown for Gun Safety can over time serve as a genuine counterweight to the efforts of the National Rifle Association. It is even possible that it could ultimately prevail as it becomes clearer that the NRA does not represent the majority of Americans. The reality is that 90 percent of Americans continue to favor universal background checks, and that includes NRA members and gun owners.
The Bloomberg initiative also provides an outlet for those who are interested in getting involved in the issue locally and have been looking for an opportunity to do so. One of the biggest difficulties in fighting the NRA has been that those who favor strengthening gun laws have been less enthusiastic and determined than those opposed. The new organization could help change that.
A Baltimore Sun editorial, however, provides some cautionary notes that represent a sobering reminder of the difficulties inherent in such an effort.