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January 8, 2015

Mayor Bloomberg Is Doubling Down


POLITICO recently released its list of the top 100 campaign donors during the 2014 mid-term election cycle. The list was full of the usual suspects, with environmental activist Tom Steyer taking the top spot by spending $74.3 million this election cycle. Coming in at #2 (and probably miffed that he did not claim the top spot) was Michael Bloomberg, who clocked in at $27.7 million. While that is certainly a hefty sum, POLITICO’s figure does not take into account state-level campaign spending which brings Bloomberg’s total to $40 million. And, there is no way to know how much he gave to organizations that do not have to disclose their donors.

Bloomberg’s money went to candidates who would advocate for the many “causes célèbre” to which he is wed, including restricting our Second Amendment rights.  In addition to the individual candidates that he supported, he also inserted himself into ballot initiatives, such as the one that recently passed in Washington State. The measure, which imposed background checks for all gun “transfers” in the state, has become a paperwork nightmare because the transfer of a firearm is not precisely defined.   For example, because of the new statute, a Washington State museum is being forced to return 11 borrowed firearms that are featured in a World War II exhibit because their acquisition was not in compliance with the law. If the museum did not return the firearms, it could be shut down by the state.

The point of the 18-page initiative was not merely to mandate background checks for legitimate transfers, but to create a hazy regulatory cloud under which the potential for arbitrary enforcement of the law would deter citizens from exercising their rights.  The vagueness surrounding the definition of a transfer is also creating headaches for the industry at the retail level, which is certainly not unintended either.

His support for the Washington State initiative is indicative of what is to come from Mayor Bloomberg as the 2016 election cycle approaches. Immediately after the 2014 election, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he will focus his efforts on state campaigns in the coming years. Not surprisingly, the rest of the gun control movement is following his lead.  Despite the fact that this shift represents an admission of defeat at the federal level, the glowing media reports portray Bloomberg’s decision as the second coming of gun control.

Furthermore, Mayor Bloomberg’s substantial investment in the mid-term races demonstrates that he is ready to spend even more during the 2016 election cycle. And, he is willing to do so in spite of the fact that public support for gun rights is increasing.  Since Mayor Bloomberg has already broadcast his 2016 strategy loud and clear, Second Amendment supporters will need to be at the ready in every state in which he plans to meddle, in order to protect our Constitutional rights.