Bloomberg Eyes Five More Fronts In The Gun Control War

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group took a beating this week with the recalls of two state senators in Colorado, but officials with the group said Thursday they believe the battle nationwide is far from over.

The officials told TPM that Mayors Against Illegal Guns is eying five other states where they think they could make their mark if they invest resources. Nothing is set in stone, but they hope there might be room to move despite this week’s loss.

“The short answer is full speed ahead,” the group’s executive director, Mark Glaze, said by phone.

The officials spoke two days after a critical defeat for the group. It poured big money and resources into the effort to save two Democratic state senators, including Colorado’s Senate president, who had helped narrowly pass a slate of gun restrictions there earlier this year. But those senators, John Morse and Angela Giron, were thrown out of office by voters in their districts on Tuesday after pro-gun groups, including the National Rifle Association, helped fund recall efforts against them.

Bloomberg himself reacted to the defeat hours after the polls closed on Tuesday, saying the fight would continue. Glaze echoed the sentiment in an interview with TPM as he and another official previewed what could come next.

The states the group is looking at are:Oregon

The state legislature there was forced in July to pull a package of gun measures after state Sen. Betsy Johnson, a Democrat, refused to join her colleagues who were voting for it. Johnson’s lack of support meant the package was one vote short of passage.

“We’re looking to see whether — maybe we can get a Republican or maybe we can figure out a way to work with her on something,” an official with Bloomberg’s group, who spoke on the condition his name not be used, told TPM.

Bloomberg’s group has also been talking with the governor’s office to try to get Johnson to support the package. The official said the group had already tried pushing Republicans in the legislature, but so far nobody was budging on the issue.

Minnesota

Efforts to pass a new background check bill in Minnesota failed recently, but Bloomberg’s group is hopeful that advocates in the state could help usher in new legislation.

“We’re sort of building a team up there in the state, lobbyists,” the official said, “to maybe get something done this legislative session.” The group is looking at the possibility of supporting a bill for universal background checks on gun purchases.

New Mexico

A gun show loophole bill was making its way through the New Mexico legislature earlier this year before it hit a snag on the Senate floor. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R), however, has said she would sign the proposal into law if it reached her desk. Martinez is an advocate of gun rights. Mayors Against Illegal Guns is hoping it can possibly work with Martinez and her office to help pass a new gun bill.

Nevada

Nevada’s legislature passed a universal background check bill for firearms purchases but in June, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed it.

The bill’s sponsor was state Sen. Justin Jones (D), who plans to introduce the proposal again in the next legislative session. Jones could face a recall, and if he does, the official from Bloomberg’s group said Mayors Against Illegal Guns could possibly get involved to defend him. The group has also considered targeting other Nevada legislators who were obstinate on the gun bill in their upcoming elections, the official said.

Washington

Supporters of stricter gun laws in Washington have introduced a ballot initiative that would add background check requirements for a host of gun sales. Opponents of stricter gun laws have their own initiative as well. The official said Mayors Against Illegal Guns will likely get involved there with money or by helping the get out the vote with the field operation. Technical support has already been provided for drafting the legislation, the official said.

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