​Bloomberg gun-control group seeks victory in more than 12 states

​Bloomberg gun-control group seeks victory in more than 12 states
Plans for the gun-control group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are becoming increasingly ambitious, as it looks to target up to 20 states for gun reform over the next two years.

The measures backed by Everytown for Gun Safety range from ballot initiatives like the one it helped pass in Washington State this year – which required background checks for those purchasing firearms from private dealers and gun shows – to legislative proposals that would allow for the removal of guns from those convicted of domestic abuse.

These details were first reported in a story by USA Today, which stated that Everytown is eyeing more than a dozen states for such proposals, and could potentially find itself backing efforts in up to 20 states. Everytown is currently set to submit the signatures necessary to put expanded background checks on the 2016 ballot in Nevada, and similar measures are being explored in Arizona and Maine.

Everytown’s expansion follows a successful effort in Washington state over the midterm elections, where voters easily passed a measure that would close the so-called “gunshow loophole” and expand background checks.

"They have come up with a strategy that seems to be working so far," said Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at State University of New York-Cortland and an expert on gun politics, to USA Today. "For the first time in gun-politics history, the NRA is being outspent by the pro-gun control forces."

Michael Bloomberg (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Essentially, the strategy involves taking particular gun-control issues directly to the voters than to lawmakers, where the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association are intense and have proven to be extremely effective. If voters are generally receptive to certain ideas, such as requiring background checks, gun-control advocates hope that the NRA won’t be able to spend them into submission.

"This is a huge amount of movement in two years on an issue where Republicans and Democrats ran for the hills for more than a decade," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown, to USA Today. "We're going to build on the successes of 2014 and do more."

Including Washington State, seven states and the District of Columbia require background checks for all gun purchases. Six states have also implemented firearms restrictions on people with domestic violence convictions.

Everytown hasn’t won every fight it’s been involved in – a number of the candidates it supported lost during the midterms – but the NRA says it will not shy away from fighting the group.

"We have $38 billion reasons to take Mike Bloomberg seriously," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told USA Today, referring to Bloomberg's projected wealth. "His money has exponential reach."