The National Rifle Association's top lobbyist reacted to the formation of new gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety by calling the group's founder, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a "billionaire nanny" and attacking the group's plan to spend $50 million on gun safety initiatives.
Everytown for Gun Safety was launched on April 16, and will feature the recently combined efforts of Bloomberg initiative Mayors Against Illegal Guns and grassroots gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Everytown says it "will ask Americans to join the fight to reduce the gun violence that kills 86 Americans every day and affects every town -- big cities and small towns alike." The group will work in Washington while also "moving beyond Congress to bring the fight for common-sense gun policies to state capitols, corporate boards, and state and federal elections -- fields of play formerly occupied almost solely by the gun lobby."
Bloomberg announced in The New York Times that he plans to spend $50 million this year on gun safety initiatives. Republican and Democratic officials, including President Bush's secretary of homeland security and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sit on the board of Everytown, as do several prominent survivors and family members of victims of gun violence.
Chris Cox, who heads the NRA's lobbying division the Institute for Legislation Action, appeared on the April 16 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File to attack the new initiative. Host Megyn Kelly set up the segment by telling viewers Everytown is part of "a twin threat to Second Amendment supporters developing this week."
Cox claimed that Bloomberg "can buy a lot of things but he can't buy the hearts and minds of the American people who love this freedom and who love the Second Amendment and want to be able to exercise their freedom and not be lectured by a billionaire nanny on how to live their lives." Acknowledging that the NRA will treat Everytown as a threat, Cox added, "This is about the hearts and minds of American people, and the NRA is average Americans, honest taxpaying law-abiding Americans all across this country who support this freedom. Michael Bloomberg can't buy that."
Cox highlighted the NRA's membership in his attack on Bloomberg's plans, but left unstated that -- like many advocacy groups -- the NRA receives significant non-membership funding. According to the NRA's public tax forms, the gun organization received more than $86 million in contributions and grants in 2012 separate of membership fees. A significant portion of the NRA's corporate funding comes from the gun industry. In a 2013 report Violence Policy Center revealed that since 2005, the gun industry has given the NRA between $19.3 million and $60.2 million.
From the April 16 edition of The Kelly File: