Bloomberg Starts a New Anti-Gun Group

We might be able to get somewhere in this issue if it wasn’t for arrogant rich New Yorkers.  Michael Bloomberg is financing another gun group, called Americans United for Safe Streets.  Who could be against safe streets?  Here’s a write-up in the Washington Post about their inaugural effort:

On Monday, Bloomberg, whose gun control campaigns in Virginia have roiled gun rights groups, will join Omar Samaha at an Arlington hotel to unveil a 30-second commercial that will air statewide next week. Their campaign calls for the General Assembly to close the so-called gun-show loophole in Virginia law that allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks. The commercial, which will be previewed at the Crystal City Marriott at 11:30 a.m., was paid for by Americans United for Safe Streets, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that counts Bloomberg as a financial contributor.

It gets interesting when you start looking at who’s behind this new group.  If you look at the AUSS web page, you see that the contact is Alex Howe, who is a Senior Account Executive at Fenton Communications.  If you take a look at Fenton, you will notice who they provide services for:

Alex Howe provides publicity support and strategy for a broad range of public interest issues and political clients, including, the ONE Campaign, and Win Without War.

This is the left-wing new media machine involved with a lot of this effort.  Right now, if you look at their domain records, they are registered to an address above a deli in New York City.  To a William Swenson, who is Advisor to the Criminal Justice Coordinator at the Office of the Mayor.  This guy works in Bloomberg’s office.

This also looks like a 527 organization, rather than a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(4) non-profit, along the lines of NRA or the Brady Campaign.  You can see where their money is coming from, as well as who they are spending money with.  They got a million-five from Bloomberg himself, and not a small amount from people who work for the City of New York.

I’ve worried about the possibility of a well-funded, new media savvy anti-gun group springing on to the scene.  The Brady Campaign is still largely interested in re-fighting the battles of the 1990s, and relies increasingly on a dying media establishment to get their message out.  A new group would come with new ideas, and come at us from unexpected directions, and through mediums that have until now been entirely dominated by us.  These people might be the real deal.

Ultimately the left needs a counter to the NRA if they are to be successful long term.  One way to counter NRA is the old “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” strategy.  While that might be acceptable to a lot of moderate rural and suburban Democrats, it’s not acceptable to the urban progressive left.  They need an answer to NRA that brings the twin pillars of influence to the table in the form of money and votes.  This folks have a track record of bringing that, so I wouldn’t laugh this group off.

24 thoughts on “Bloomberg Starts a New Anti-Gun Group”

  1. Gun owners in Virginia should be concerned. Based on the commercial (as profiled here by VSSA this morning – good work!), they are gearing up for an effort to defeat Bob McDonnell for governor. I notice in their expenditure records that they put down a deposit of $150K for a direct mail campaign. That will do one very large mailing in Virginia.

  2. These evil swine are going to bring about CWII. It’s not enough for them to have the Presidency and both houses of Congress, or to be able to spend 180 quintillion dollars a day. No, they have to make sure every blue-collar gun owner has the Obama Gestapo search his house for firearms. Their power trip will create one hell of a backlash.

  3. I do agree with one thing on the ad. We should call Bob McDonnell at 804-612-9111–and tell him to stick to his guns.

  4. Speaking of which…is there any chance we could do a counter-mailer? Perhaps we could start our own organization and solicit online contributions.

  5. There’s nothing new to be worried about. This is typical for the antis. Their issues have a limited shelf life so they constantly must reinvent themselves.

  6. Speaking of which…is there any chance we could do a counter-mailer? Perhaps we could start our own organization and solicit online contributions.

    The important thing he needs more than a counter to Bloomberg’s millions is real grass roots support. People willing to donate to his campaign, and volunteer. That’s worth a lot more than gun owners getting together to do a mailing. We shouldn’t imitate the anti-gunners. We should do what we’re best at, which is grass roots. What we have to do though, is find ways to use new media to enhance that. We’ll have a hard time countering Bloomberg on a dollar per dollar basis. We have to use something else.

  7. There’s nothing new to be worried about. This is typical for the antis. Their issues have a limited shelf life so they constantly must reinvent themselves.

    Yes, and that’s exactly how we got an assault weapons ban in 1994.

  8. I think it’s more likely they’ll lose than win. However, I see where he’s coming from. Although the pro-control side are hurt by their un-American nature, they are also hurt by their lack of cash. Bloomberg is addressing that here, and he won’t be the only one. The Brady Bunch, as currently constituted, is basically a Clinton-era relic, relying on Democrats in power to rubber-stamp its agenda. Since the Democrats in power have made it clear that they don’t want to touch gun control, the MooreOns are trying a different tactic. Note that they don’t actually have to make people LOVE gun control; they just have to defeat McConnell and convince the Democrats in Congress that they did it.

    One countertactic I can think of: could we possibly support a third-party candidate for NYC mayor? He could endanger Bloomberg enough to make him spend his money on himself. It might well result in a Democrat mayor, but oh well. The GOP will be a better party without Bloomberg. (In fact, if Republicans had any balls they’d issue a “Not in Our Name” statement about him anyway).

  9. They are hurt more by their lack of grass roots. But the internet is great for organizing, and these people have experience with that.

    Bloomberg is dangerous to the Second Amendment because he’s a rich asshole. The fact that he’s Mayor of New York City gives him a bully pulpit, but that can work against him too. I think Bloomberg is a problem whether he’s in office or out.

  10. This actually presents what Jerry Pournelle called an “insurmountable opportunity.” If we win this one for McDonnell, with the entire left-wing going in the tank for him, it could mean the end of gun control as a cause for good. Perhaps we could even run a 2010 Congressional campaign based not around some “Contract for America”–Republicans, like the Brady Bunch, often try to refight yesterday’s wars–but rather a campaign based around gun rights, If gun owners could show up in every contested state that had a decently pro-gun GOP candidate, we could take back the House at least and (can I dream?) the Senate–and then pass some REAL pro-gun legislation.

    The model for this election would not be the Congressional election of 1994 so much as it would be the CA governor’s race in 1994–in which Pete Wilson successfully tied the Democrats to wildly unpopular policies (welfare for illegal immigrants).

  11. I said there is nothing new to be worried about, not that there is nothing to be worried about at all. I expect their front groups to appear then disappear every so often. It’s how they keep their issue fresh. Remember First Monday?

  12. I agree that he’s a problem in office or not. But there are two advantages to unseating him:

    First, he has to blow his own money on getting reelected.

    Second, if he loses, he’s less likely to be considered a spokesman for the GOP. Perhaps even as big an asshole as Ryan Sager will stop pushing him (as a *libertarian* alternative! Excuse me, I have to clean up the coffee I just spit up). (Did I mention that I hate faux libertarians?)

    The two obvious disadvantages are, first, the difficulty of organizing such an opposition, and second, that the idiotic national GOP might double their efforts to get him reelected (and stiff McDonnell in the process).

  13. One point that 2A rights activists should never forget:

    It was not the GOP Congress that defeated gun control. In fact, they sold us down the river with the Lautenberg Amendment and their initial refusal to even try to repeal the AWB. It was not until 2000 that gun control was sunk, and it wasn’t because of Bush’s election either. It was the S&W boycott that turned the tide. To some extent it was the NRA, but more importantly it was individual gun owners cooperating online and in person.

    Personally I can’t stand Newt Gingrich; I consider him a backstabbing SOB who took the 1994 election, which was about gun rights, and instead made it into his own lame “Revolution.”

  14. Clearly this is basically the same group as MoveOn, and I’ve always considered them to be pretty sinister even by leftist standards. It’s the combination of having nothing but hate campaigns, extreme left viewpoints, and, worst of all, being a bunch of shadowy puppeteers who hardly ever show their faces.

    I remember hearing about their anti-Bush, anti-NRA ads in 2004, and thinking, “Why do they want to hurt Kerry with anti-gun ads?” The reason, though, was to pressure Kerry to toe the line on the gun control agenda, to keep it in play. These guys are some serious gun bigots–and when I say gun bigots, I mean bigoted against gun owners.

    These are not normal people. I truly believe if they thought they could convince Obama to nuke all the remaining “red” states they would, without batting an eye.

  15. Oh yeah, and it didn’t help that they partnered their rallies with a North Korean front group.

  16. I wouldn’t worry about his new group. He just needed something new since most of his old group is under indictment or is in jail already.

  17. Ken, there isn’t any magic bullet on this issue that’s going to solve the problem. People are quite capable of holding views that are completely logically inconsistent, and even nearly incoherent at times. Not many people believe in either total prohibition, or a complete Laissez-faire when it comes to guns. There are a lot of shades of grey in people’s beliefs.

    Thus someone who supports registration, licensing and mandatory training wouldn’t view that they are depriving that woman of their ability to defend themselves. They won’t see, or won’t think about, the unintended consequences. They don’t understand the political consequences of that either, because they aren’t in the issue.

    I wish there was a magic bullet that would let us win this, but there isn’t.

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