Bloomberg’s Group Prepares For The Long Game On Guns

This isn’t over, says the counter-NRA.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — They may have lost the battle Wednesday when the Senate voted down a background checks bill, but Mayors Against Illegal Guns insisted that doesn’t mean gun control proponents will lose the war against the NRA.

On the contrary, the group’s director says the NRA’s days as the central political force when it comes to guns are numbered.

“We’ll get through this day, take down the bill, and get Senators prepared for the fact that they are going to be dealing with this issue everyday for the foreseeable future until they resolve it in the way the public wants,” MAIG director Mark Glaze told BuzzFeed as he waited for the clock to run out on the Senate gun violence bill drafted after Newtown.

“The NRA has passed it’s sell-by date,” he said.

MAIG, founded by Michael Bloomberg as a counter to the NRA’s political weight, has already begun spending big money in political races to shame and defeat Democrats who stand with the NRA. Bloomberg, the chief financial patron of the group, has promised to spend a lot more.

As Glaze sees it, that spending means the last of the NRA’s three main advantages over gun control supporters is no longer valid.

“First is an intensity gap, which has largely been washed away by a series of mass shootings and if the Senate fails today, it will only boost our cause,” Glaze said.

The NRA’s second strength, Glaze said, is its ability to rally thousands of grassroots supporters to pressure any member that goes wobbly on the NRA’s core issues. After the Newtown shooting, the gun control side of the aisle saw its membership swell, part of what Glaze and other gun control advocates say is a general trend.

“We are erasing the [NRA’s] advantage with every day that passes,” he said.

Finally comes the money. The NRA has been able to dump millions on election cycles (though their spending didn’t amount to much in 2012.) The fear of the NRA’s spending spigot has kept members of congress in line, gun control supporters say. Glaze said his group and others will eliminate that advantage in the next election.

“The third [advantage] is election spending, which has never been as effective as the NRA likes to claim,” he said. “But between now and 2014, you’re going to see Mayor Bloomberg, you’re going to see a lot of folks who have not been focused on this issue providing support for people who did the right thing and letting the folks who did the wrong thing know someone’s watching.”

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