Bloomberg kicks off new gun-control efforts

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is back in Colorado, at least in spirit, to push for stricter gun laws.

His new group, Everytown for Gun Safety, debuts with gun-control rallies in 10 cities across the country, including in Golden, Colo., the state that was ground zero for the gun debate last year.

“Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities,” according to the group’s website. “Gun violence touches every town in America. For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives.”

Bloomberg is bankrolling the group with $5 million of his own money and he’s no stranger to spending it in Colorado. He spent $350,000 to support a pair of Democratic state senators last year who were targeted for recall due to their support of Colorado’s tough new gun laws.

Those laws — which banned ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds and required universal background checks — were the focus of heavy lobbying both inside and outside Colorado. Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns squared off against the National Rifle Association, which helped  push for the recalls of former Sens. John Morse and Angela Giron.

Both were ousted from office. A third Democratic senator later resigned rather than face recall; had she lost, it would have tipped the balance of power in the state Senate to Republicans. Democrats control both chambers of the Colorado state legislature and the governor’s office.

Despite Bloomberg’s candidates losing their seats, he called the NRA a “loser” because the laws remained in place even if the candidates who supported them didn’t.

With Everytown for Gun Safety, Bloomberg has made no secret that he plans to go toe-to-toe with the NRA.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’” he told The New York Times. “‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’”

“We’ve got to make them afraid of us,” he said.

The group is focused on rallying women and mothers to push Congress to pass a universal background check law, an effort that failed to materialize last year. According to the Times, the group will concentrate its efforts less on TV ads, although it has produced a few, and more on grassroots organizing.

Bloomberg himself isn’t scheduled to speak in Colorado Thursday, but the event will feature comments from gun-violence victims and their families, including several who are related to victims of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting.

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