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Bloomberg may become NRA’s not-so-secret weapon

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, attending a gig at Carnegie Hall, may think this is the way to dress for a "grassroots" campaign.
Photo by Brad Barket

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg and his $50 million “Everytown for Gun Safety” campaign – already being ridiculed by Second Amendment activists as “Everytown for Gun Prohibition” – may actually become the National Rifle Association’s new “secret weapon,” if one is to believe today’s New York Daily News.

According to the sub-head of S.E. Cupp’s opinion piece, the ex-New York mayor’s big-money “grassroots” effort will “make more enemies than converts.” That much seemed evident over the weekend as the NRA gathered in Indianapolis, where an estimated 75,000 gun enthusiasts turned out for the organization’s 143rd annual convention, while Bloomberg’s anti-gun campaign could only draw a crowd estimated to be somewhere between 100 and 200 people.

Bloomberg remains uncharacteristically quiet after the high-profile launch of his “Everytown” effort turned into a cartoon, with scores of pro-gun Facebook pages carrying the “Everytown for Gun Safety” banner were launched. Efforts to erase those pages appear to have been unsuccessful, although the original national page was pulled down. However, as the reader comment below notes, that page may be back now. The state and local “Everytown” pro-gun pages are still up and running.

Cupp’s Wednesday article reveals a number of mayors who have quit Bloomberg’s anti-gun ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” and also notes the embarrassing departure last week of former Homeland Security chief and ex-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge as an “Everytown” advisor. Add to that what appeared to be a fair number of new member sign-ups or membership upgrades in Indianapolis, and Bloomberg just might eclipse Barack Obama as the best membership promoter the NRA ever had.

Mary Callison with One Million Moms Against Gun Control, one of the groups participating in a pro-NRA turnout last Saturday to blunt the protest led by Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a Bloomberg-supported adjunct of the “Everytown” effort, told Examiner via e-mail that it was “crazy that day.”

For the NRA, Bloomberg and the serious threat of his billions of dollars are perhaps the best membership driving force that money can’t buy. Actually, the irony here is that Bloomberg’s money actually is buying an NRA membership surge, which is hardly what the former mayor had in mind when he launched the “Everytown” project.

The NRA quickly returned fire with a 40-second video, unveiled during Saturday’s members’ meeting. A man in the advertisement says this about Bloomberg: “He’s one guy with millions. We’re millions with our 25 bucks. Let’s see who crushes who.”

Do some math and one will conclude that if even half of the NRA’s five million members sent the organization checks for $25 apiece, that comes to a whopping $62.5 million. That amount of money can still be dwarfed by Bloomberg’s bank account, but the more he invests to clamp down on gun rights, the more people he seems to arouse to action.

A microcosm of Bloomberg’s national gun control campaign is being waged right here in Washington State, where today, the chairman of the campaign to pass Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control measure, sent out an e-mail appeal for $3 donations by midnight. Today is the last day of the latest fund-raising effort by the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility to raise $20,000 in matching money from an un-named benefactor.

Bloomberg’s MAIG already donated $30,000 to the I-594 campaign. There have been strong signals that more money is coming.

Evergreen State gun owners know they’re in a fight, and one can safely guess they’re wishing a lot of people, from all over the country, would send contributions to the Initiative 591 campaign. That’s the measure aimed at preventing government gun confiscation without due process, and maintaining background checks in compliance with a uniform national standard.

Protect Our Gun Rights, a statewide coalition of hunters, target shooters, law enforcement firearms instructors and collectors, distributed more than 6,000 bumper stickers over the weekend to visitors at gun shows in Puyallup and Tacoma. That’s the kind of genuine grassroots effort that Bloomberg can’t buy or invent with all of his millions.

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