Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to challenge the National Rifle Association in a $50 million effort to galvanize voters in favor of stricter gun control laws.
Bloomberg says he plans to use the tools of the NRA—political influence, organization, and a hard-line stance—in order to build a nationwide grassroots organization and sway voters and lawmakers to support gun control.
“We’ve got to make them afraid of us,” Bloomberg told the New York Times.
The former mayor will spend large sums on the behind-the-scenes style of fieldwork the NRA has used, organizing women and mothers in particular to help drive pro-gun control voters to the polls. He plans to restructure the gun control groups he currently funds into a single group called “Everytown for Gun Safety.”
The $50 million Bloomberg plans to spend far exceeds the $20 million the NRA has recently spent each year on political activities. The NRA has been focused on signing up 1 million new supporters, particularly in states more hostile to gun control laws such as Texas, Montana and Indiana.
Gun rights activists were skeptical about Bloomberg’s plans. “He’s got the money to waste,” Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America said. “So I guess he’s free to do so. But frankly, I think he’s going to find out why his side keeps losing.”