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Bloomberg Spends Millions to Publicize His Bought-and-Paid-For Background Check Law

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Recently, Amy Schumer – Millennial comedy sensation and cousin to gun control standard-bearer Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) – insisted that money is at the center of America’s gun control problem. We agree with that premise, but the money is flooding in from gun ban advocates, and the problem is that they think they’re better than you are and that your rights are up for sale.

Nobody illustrates this better than billionaire Michael Bloomberg, whose ego and checkbook are propping up a disarmament movement that disproportionately attracts the showy philanthropy of fat cats, rather than enduring grassroots support. With another of his signature antigun initiatives sucking wind right out of the blocks, it’s time again for the sugar daddy of gun control to reach deep into his well-stuffed pockets.

Oregon’s “universal” background check law became effective Aug. 9, and already expectations are tempered.  The state’s Public Broadcasting network ran a story featuring a skeptical county sheriff who summarized the measure’s likely effects as follows: “[T]he bad people are going to get the guns regardless. So I truly think it’s a waste of time.” Meanwhile, the Register-Guard editorialized, “Oregon gun-sale background checks law gets off to a rough start.” The article goes on to report, “Several sheriffs in mostly rural counties … have said they simply won’t enforce the law at all.”  Yet advocates of civilian disarmament know that they cannot succeed unless the state knows which Americans actually own firearms. That process starts with creating a record of every firearm transfer.  

More and more Americans are becoming aware of how the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has repeatedly failed to stop the perpetrators of high-profile crimes from obtaining their crime guns (including, recently, in Charleston, S.C., and Lafayette, La.). Small wonder, then, that a number of Oregon law enforcement officials, faced with limited resources and the constant pressures of serious person and property crimes, have decided the new background check law is low on their list of priorities, if it even makes the list at all.

Yet advocates of civilian disarmament know that they cannot succeed unless the state knows which Americans actually own firearms. That process starts with creating a record of every firearm transfer. Thus, despite the consistent failure of the current background check system to make a difference when it matters most, gun prohibitionists want to make a NICS check mandatory each time a gun changes hands. That’s why Everytown for Gun Safety, the front group for Bloomberg’s gun control apparatus, continues to insist: “Requiring a criminal background check for all gun sales is the single most effective policy for keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people and saving lives.”

Thus, Bloomberg, whose fortune helps bankroll gun control efforts throughout the U.S., is now ponying up again to publicize the Oregon law. According to the Register-Guard story, “Everytown for Gun Safety has reserved six-figures worth of airtime” to run a television ad promoting Oregon’s new law in the Eugene and Portland markets. The ad was announced at a press conference on Monday by Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and will feature Portland’s former police chief Mike Reese extolling the supposed ease of complying with the new requirements.  Thus, despite the consistent failure of the current background check system to make a difference when it matters most, gun prohibitionists want to make a NICS check mandatory each time a gun changes hands.   

Despite the fact that the ad promotes a political agenda Bloomberg is pursuing throughout the country, and despite its use of current and former public officials for promotion and production, the Register-Guard notes that Everytown will not have to report the outlay as political spending. This is because the ad is financed by Everytown’s nonprofit “educational” arm.  The usual wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanies money in politics has nevertheless remained strangely muted this time.

Bloomberg’s latest effort follows another recent six-figure ad buy in D.C. area publications to advocate for national background check legislation. That of course follows a six-figure publicity blitz this past spring in Oregon while the state background check legislation was still pending. Even these figures, however, pale in comparison to the $12 million Bloomberg dumped into trying to sway Heartland support for the failed expansion of the federal background check system in 2013. With these sorts of resources, Bloomberg is a virtual political party unto himself, offering cradle to grave support for his pet policy projects.

So while we may not agree with Amy Schumer on the answers to gun crime, we certainly agree that big money is attempting to influence the debate. The big difference is NRA’s grassroots army, millions strong and fighting the battle $35 at a time, versus a big city billionaire and media mogul hoping to recreate America in his own image with torrents of cash. Rest assured, however, that while Bloomberg will keep spending, your NRA will keep fighting. With your votes and support for pro-freedom candidates, the Second Amendment can still prevail!

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