Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million this year to build a grass-roots network to reduce gun violence.
The new initiative, first reported by The New York Times, will focus on expanding background checks for gun purchasers at the state and national levels.
Two gun-control groups Bloomberg currently supports, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, will join a new group named Everytown for Gun Safety, the paper reported. Women will be the focus of the outreach effort.
Organizers say they hope to attract 2.5 million supporters.
Bloomberg’s stepped-up advocacy marks a new stage in the gun-control debate. His organization and like-minded groups spent millions in the wake of the 2012 shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school in an effort to persuade Congress to pass tougher gun-control laws without success.
In the interview, Bloomberg argues that gun-control activists must get more aggressive and take a page from the tactics of the powerful National Rifle Association.
“We’ve got to make them afraid of us,” he said.