Michael Bloomberg is investing a chunk of his personal fortune to minimize the influence of the National Rifle Association.
The former New York City mayor pledged $50 million to his new group Everytown for Gun Safety, an umbrella organization for his two other gun control groups: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. It aims to make the political climate more supportive of gun control.
The new organization plans to compete against the NRA by adopting its playbook. The NRA has built an impressive and effective organization that touts millions of members, a robust lobbying organization and a massive campaign arm.
Good luck with that. What Bloomberg will soon discover is that when deprived of the coercive power of the regulatory state, people, particularly Americans, don’t respond favorably to strangers telling them how to manage their lives. He will also find out that it is remarkably easier to start an astroturf campaign than it is to sustain a grassroots effort.
Since their founding, the gun controls groups owned by Bloomberg have accomplished damned little beyond churning out position papers and press releases. And time has shown that his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group was much more political posturing than a real movement. Membership has dropped by 15% since founding. 10% of the group was defeated or retired in lieu of defeat in 2013. But the political climate has changed markedly since Bloomberg began his anti-gun frenzy. The Supreme Court has twice (Heller in 2008 and McDonald 2010) ruled that the Second Amendment really is part of the Bill of Rights and it can’t be ignored because some do-gooder thinks you’d be better off unarmed.
While Bloomberg was mayor of New York, he carried a certain authority. Now Bloomberg is just another idle billionaire looking for something to do.