Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is throwing down the gauntlet against the National Rifle Association.
In a New York Times story published Tuesday, Bloomberg outlined his plan to spend $50 million — a figure he threw out “as if he were describing the tip he left on a restaurant check” — building a new nationwide grassroots movement to curb gun violence. His Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition and the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America announced a merger last year, and Bloomberg plans to restructure them under a new umbrella organization, Everytown for Gun Safety.
That new advocacy group will adopt NRA-style organizing tactics to mobilize voters in favor of gun control, according to the Times, relying more on a good ground game than on television ads. Bloomberg had poured $350,000 into the campaign to support Colorado lawmakers facing a recall partially motivated by their votes in favor of gun control, for example, but that contribution didn’t stop their ouster.
Bloomberg told the Times he wasn’t concerned about pissing off the Democrats he’s rankled in the past by spending against those he viewed as insufficiently pro-gun control, and neither was he worried about the fate of the gun control movement should control of the Senate flip to the GOP. And he was confident that his “nanny” image wouldn’t dog Everytown for Gun Safety’s outreach in the heartland.
“I don’t know what your perception is of our reputation, and mine, the name Bloomberg around the country,” he told the Times, saying everywhere he goes it’s like “You’re a rock star. People yelling out of cabs, ‘Hey, way to go!’”
It was also clear from the Times piece that Bloomberg was convinced his campaign against gun violence was righteous.
“I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in,” he told the newspaper. “I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
This post has been updated.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.