Mayors Against Illegal Guns is no longer a joke, if it ever was one. Since its inception in 2006, the coalition of mayors and gun control supporters dedicated to promoting tougher federal, state, and local gun regulation has significantly grown in size and has, as a result, expanded its political influence and lobbying power.
With a yearly operating budget of approximately $4 million the coalition can put enough pressure on certain key moderate public officials to change the dynamics of the political battlefield.
While most of the victories Mayors Against Illegal Guns has scored thus far have been minor, getting pro-gun control state senators elected in Virginia, convincing WalMart to tighten its sales policies, publicizing the results of its Point, Click, Fire investigation, the coalition is targeting bigger fish.
The latest example is The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill – there’re actually two versions of the bill in the Senate right now – that would authorize concealed carry permit holders to carry a handgun in any state that issues a permit.
This bill, which already passed through the House with bipartisan support, has been effectively killed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
John Feinblatt, Bloomberg’s chief policy adviser and one of the purveyors of the coalition, told Dana Rubinstein of Capital New York about the effort to squash the national reciprocity Senate bills.
Feinblatt told Rubinstein that, in good part thanks to his organization’s lobbying efforts, neither bill will pass the Senate, and that, therefore, both are dead.
One will recall that in 2010 a national CCW reciprocity bill came two votes shy of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. Supporters and sponsors of the new bill(s) believe that this time they will have enough votes to pass the measure.
However, according to Feinblatt, those “moderate senators” have flipped on the issue since then. He declined to tell Rubinstein which ones changed their minds (or elucidate how the coalition got them to capitulate to its agenda).
“I think we have turned the tide on this issue in the Senate,” he told Rubinstein.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is not going away. They have and will continue to politicize every act of gun violence that makes the papers, regardless of its relevance to law-abiding gun owners.
The result of this tactic is an explosion in membership. After the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords, the coalition’s database grew from 70,000 to more than 230,000. Following the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the coalition added 110,000 new followers, bringing its total to 340,000.
While some might scoff at these numbers – the NRA has an operating budget of roughly $220 million and over 4 million registered members – the reality is that a little can go a long way.
Even so, Feinblatt told Rubinstein that he envisions a day when Mayors Against Illegal Guns will serve as counterweight against the NRA, a parallel organization of sorts. That like the NRA, they’ll be able to use their lobbying power to influence policy and change the political landscape with respect to gun rights.
“So, they actually, they had not met their match before us,” said Feinblatt, of the NRA. “And I’m not saying we don’t have a ways to go. We do.”
The bottom line is that gun owners should not underestimate Bloomberg and his cohorts. They’re here to stay and they’re ready to fight.
Picture Courtesy of Capital New York