Bloomberg Group Will Spend $25 Million to Fight Self-Defense Proposals

Bloomberg Group Will Spend $25 Million to Fight Self-Defense Proposals
Michael Bloomberg's Everytown For Gun Safety is now gearing up with big bucks to kill concealed-carry reciprocity legislation, which make a carry permit issued in one state valid in others.photo from esquire.comweb photo

Some of the nation's most powerful anti-gun advocates see that they have an uphill road to travel with Donald Trump in the White House and a Republican majority in the Congress. So, they're throwing piles and piles of money at their problem, according to this story from politico.com.

The story says Everytown for Gun Safety, the anti-gun group founded and largely funded by billionaire and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, is planning to spend more than $25 million in 2018 political races and to combat the law commonly referred to as National Concealed Carry Reciprocity (CCR). In a nutshell, the proposed legislation would make any concealed carry permit granted in one state valid in all 50 states.

The group is hiring new top staffers and turning its attention to races in state legislatures, while also working to develop a defensive posture against CCR in Washington.

A bill to legalize national CCR was introduced last month with strong support from the NRA. During his campaign, Trump said he would support such a measure.

Currently, the validity of concealed carry permits is governed by a complicated and often confusing patchwork of reciprocity agreements among various states. In many cases, a person could be carrying a gun legally, but he or she would be committing a felony simply by crossing a state border.

Individuals would still have to obtain a concealed carry permit in their home state in order to legally carry a firearm.

Opponents says it would undermine the laws in states that aren't gun-friendly. For example, if CCR were to pass, someone with a concealed carry permit from Pennsylvania would legally be able to carry a firearm in New York City, even though obtaining a carry permit in the city is nearly impossible for residents who are not law enforcement.

Everytown is using its success-by-high-spending strategy in the 2016 New Hampshire Senate race, which saw the ousting of incumbent former Sen. Kelly Ayotte as a warning to others, the story says.

"We're putting people on notice today that we're watching," said Everytown president John Feinblatt in the story, "and that we expect to hold people accountable."

The story says Ayotte had about $8 million spent against her in last year's senate race, with Bloomberg himself spending more than $25 million in 2016, including money he put into other Senate races and into four state ballot measures on gun control, three of which passed.

Everytown has hired Brynne Craig, the former deputy director of state campaigns for Hillary Clinton, as its managing director of external affairs and civic engagement. Kirk Fordham, a former GOP congressional staffer and executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Gill Action Fund, will be the new managing director of partnerships and strategic planning. Matt McTighe, the former executive director of another LGBT group, Freedom for All Americans, will be the new chief operating officer, the story says.

Eric Schultz will advise Everytown's communications and political strategy while continuing his role as a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama, according to the story.

Reciprocity legislation will also face opposition from Americans for Responsible Solutions, founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, which is also fighting against the Hearing Protection Act. The story says Giffords' organization will be coordinating efforts with Everytown.