(CNN) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million this year through his new group Everytown for Gun Safety to counter the influence of the National Rifle Association, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Women, and more particularly moms, will be the key demographic in the outreach to curb gun violence, Everytown for Gun Safety spokeswoman Erika Soto Lamb told CNN.
The news was first reported by The New York Times.
“You’ve got to work at it piece by piece,” Bloomberg told the newspaper. “One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’ “
The organization will mimic tactics used by the NRA that have influenced elected officials, from local city councils to Washington.
Everytown has a goal of enrolling an additional 2.5 million members across the country to implement its grass-roots education efforts. The group will focus on 15 states that have liberal gun laws, including Texas, Montana and Indiana. States that have advanced gun control initiatives will also receive attention, including Colorado and Washington.
But influencing those in charge of writing gun policy will be the ultimate goal of the organization, which is also creating a political action committee to elect gun safety candidates to office.
Like the NRA, the organization will submit a candidates questionnaire and keep a score card of how elected officials vote on gun-related issues. They aim to motivate a million pro-gun safety voters to go to the polls in November.
The real goal will be to match the NRA’s financial heft. The organization has spent more than $30 million in lobbying since 1998, and its political action committee has spent nearly $150 million on campaigns since 1990. Already in the first two months of 2014, which is an election year, the powerful gun group has raised $14 million, according to public data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
“I don’t want to lay blame anywhere, but it is a reality that the gun lobby has an incredible amount of political influence with members of Congress in Washington,” Mark Kelly, a prominent gun control advocate, told CNN in December. Kelly’s wife is former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded in a shooting in Arizona in 2011.
“I mean, it’s very clear that many members take their cues on this issue from the gun lobby,” he said.
The NRA has little to say about Bloomberg’s pledge, for now.
“See you in Indianapolis next week. We’ll have a lot more to say then,” spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN. He was referring to the group’s annual conference, which takes place next week in Indianapolis.
Everytown for Gun Safety will serve as an umbrella organization for Bloomberg’s two gun control groups: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Bloomberg’s activism for gun safety increased after repeated mass shootings. His efforts to expand background checks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School failed to pass either the House or the Senate, despite pressure from the Obama administration.
The organization wants to expand background checks, keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, crack down on gun trafficking and educate parents about the safe storage of guns.