New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's coalition of mayors fighting for gun control will add 130,000 moms to the lobbying fold as they continue efforts to curb gun violence in America in 2014.
Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns and activists group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America announced today they would merge their organizations to bolster the grassroots and policy-driven campaigns of the two operations.
"We started this movement as just 15 mayors committed to protecting our cities — and we've since been joined by more than 1,000 mayors and more than 1.5 million Americans from big cities, small towns, and all different walks of life," said Bloomberg. "Gun violence is, unfortunately, an issue that affects every community, and coming together with Moms Demand Action today will strengthen our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and save lives."
Bloomberg started MAIG in 2006, co-founding the group with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Both Bloomberg and Menino exit their respective offices at the beginning of 2014.
Moms Demand Action, created the day after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults, rapidly grew in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, setting up chapters in all 50 states in 2013.
"Gun violence used to be something that happened only in other cities, other communities, but now every mother and every American knows the fear of 'what if?': What if it were my community or my child's school?" said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. "That's why we've come together to fight this tragedy — to save our children's lives, save American lives and protect the places where we all live, work, and go to school. This partnership ensures mothers will continue to play an important role in gun violence prevention for decades to come."
The merger is the latest move in what billionaire Bloomberg alluded to during a speech last week when he said he planned to devote more time and resources to combating gun violence once he left City Hall. MAIG spent $10 million on gun control in 2012, and that number increased to $13 million in 2013, with most of the money going toward political efforts to target pro-gun congressional candidates and influence the debate in their districts.
MAIG put up the cash last week to buy cable television time for Moms Demand Action's shocking and provocative gun control spot leading up to the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.