This week, the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced it would review and score all the candidates who enroll for November’s Congress elections. The organization is one of three founded by Bloomberg – the other two are Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
While the former two groups have been fairly active, against the backdrop of America’s recent mass shootings, Everytown for Gun Safety has kept silent since the 2014 midterm elections. It is now resurfacing, with an announcement that it’s going to ask House and Senate candidates to fill out a 10-part questionnaire regarding their stances on gun control issues. Some of the topics to be covered by the questionnaire include the expansion of background checks for gun owners and the limits for advertising gun sellers in magazines. The group has also devised an algorithm, which will take both questionnaire answers, as well as past statements made by the candidates into account. The results of the calculations will be used in rallying voters for or against the incumbents, respectively.
In an interview with The Washington Post,the group’s political consultant, Mitch Stewart, explained that the aim of these calculations is to “identify the people who care about this issue”. This initiative will be data-driven and metrics-driven and Stewart, one of the forces behind it, comes with the credentials of having directed President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012. Stewart has also added that Everytown plans to counter the belief that the NRA is ‘invincible’. He explained that his group wants “to show these candidates and these members of Congress that there is a sizable group of people in their districts and states who care about these issues and they’re going to demand some answers.”
The effort comes in the wake of a similar announcement made by representatives of the National Rifle Association. The NRA will also be providing the public with report cards on all the Congress candidates, from the other side of the debate on gun ownership and gun control. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is one of the most active opponents to gun ownership in America. In the wake of the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut mass shootings at an elementary school, Bloomberg has vowed to spend $50 million out of his personal bank account in 2014, in an effort to counter the $20 million spent yearly by the NRA in election campaigns.