Michael Bloomberg, the 15th-richest man in the world, has announced that he is going to spend $50 million on a “grassroots” campaign against the National Rifle Association. In politics, that is a huge amount of money—far more than the amount of money the NRA has been able to spend on politics in the last several years. Other billionaires, including Warren Buffett, have announced that they, too, will support Bloomberg’s campaign.
Back in 2013, Bloomberg invested heavily in lobbyists and television advertising. Despite massively outspending NRA in both categories, he accomplished virtually nothing at the federal level, and much less than he had hoped for at the state level.
A very sore loser, he now seems intent on payback, with the Constitution caught in the crossfire.
Bloomberg recently announced that his gun-control organizations, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” and “Moms Demand Action,” will now be folded into a new anti-gun group—“Everytown for Gun Safety.”
The new plan is to dump money on field operations to drive voter turnout; use websites and social media to collect a million names of people who say they favor additional gun control; then use the field operations to contact them and turn them out to vote.
It’s somewhat similar to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, whose margin of victory was provided by enormous spending, first to frighten uninformed people with lies (e.g., by warning that Mitt Romney would take away their birth control pills), then to identify as many such gullible people as possible and finally to contact them relentlessly to get them to vote.
Women are now Bloomberg’s top targets—especially mothers. The core of his campaign will be to terrify mothers about guns. As Bloomberg spokeswoman Shannon Watts (head of the Bloomberg “Moms” organization) put it, “Moms are afraid our children will be taken away and in the end, I think that’s the emotion that will win the debate.”
In fact, “Everytown” debuted with a web video in which a young girl finds a gun in a closet and then shoots her brother. The video concludes by announcing, “Scenes like this happen all the time.”
That’s a lie.
Bloomberg never tells viewers that the number of fatal gun accidents involving children (ages 0-14) has declined from a high of 581 in 1971, down to 62 in 2010. (Based on data from the federal Centers for Disease Control, and from the National Safety Council.) This was during a time period when the American gun supply increased enormously, from about 117 million in 1971, to about 320 million in 2010.
Incidentally, part of the reason for the plunge in accidents is NRA’s very own Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program. Eddie Eagle has taught more than 27 million children that if they see a gun, “Stop! Don’t touch! Leave the area. Tell an adult.” The program has been endorsed by the National Sheriffs’ Association and the U.S. Department of Justice, and is taught by police departments and sheriffs’ offices throughout the United States.
Having tried to deceive people about gun accidents, Bloomberg’s plan is to tell them to vote for anti-gun candidates because those candidates favor “universal background checks” for all gun sales. But as we saw last year, Bloomberg’s background check plan is not really about background checks; it’s about criminalizing as many gun owners as possible.