Bloomberg-backed gun control movement ‘Everytown’ kicks off in Colorado

GOLDEN — Roughly forty Coloradans gathered Wednesday as part of a national kickoff for “Everytown for Gun Safety,” an organization backed by philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The new group, a meshing of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, comes with a new campaign — Gun Sense Voters, which aims to turn out a million new gun-control-focused voters this year.

Copying from the politically potent “gunny” playbook that resulted in the historic recall of two pro-gun control state senators last fall, Everytown is looking to leverage grassroots voters motivated by shooting tragedies. With $50 million expected from Bloomberg alone and with heavy-hitters such as Warren Buffett and Eli Broad on the board, the organization aims to do one thing above all else: Take on the National Rifle Association.

By itself, Bloomberg’s contribution would more than double what the NRA spends annually on its political efforts. But generous funding isn’t the only strategy Evertytown has learned from “the gun lobby.” The group is already tweaking gun-control rhetoric from expressions of grief and promises of saving lives to include also some serious fear tactics. If the NRA’s line is “They’re coming for your guns and only you can stop them,” Everytown’s rally cry is “Guns are coming for your children and only you can protect them.” Perhaps the best example of this rhetorical shift is the group’s introductory video below:

This video not only resembles an opening vignette for an episode of American Horror Story, but also is produced to motivate engagement by literally making the viewer responsible for stopping the horrible accident by clicking as a timer counts down from 10. Click pause and the vision of a little girl about to accidentally shoot herself or her brother cuts to “The scene you just stopped should never happen to any family.” This message floats above a red button for viewers to sign up among the million new pro-gun control voters the organization hopes to snag this year.

Many of those voters spoke Wednesday at Everytown’s launch in Golden. They included Tom Sullivan, Dave and Theresa Hoover, who each lost family members in the Aurora movie theater shooting, as well as Karina Vargas, who lost her ability to walk due to collateral gang violence.

For Dave Hoover, who has served for more than 30 years as a law enforcer in Colorado, the issue of gun control is both personal and professional. He noted that there have been more than 60 school shootings since 2012 and that since 2010 more than 200 police officers across the country have been shot and killed.

“In states where they have something as simple as universal background checks in place, they have 39 percent fewer officers killed by individuals armed with handguns,” said Hoover, underscoring Everytown’s primary policy goal: To radically expand universal background checks for firearm purchases.

His sister Theresa Hoover, who lost her son AJ in the Aurora theater shooting, is ready for her personal loss to result in public action.

“There’s a club of us who know this pain and suffering all too well, whose lives have been turned upside down because of gun violence. And sadly our club is growing larger and larger by the day,” she said, adding that Colorado’s gun control measures — which include background checks and magazine limits — could make everyone safer nationwide.

Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, emphasized that because 86 Americans are killed every day with guns, gun control is everyone’s issue.

“Gun violence is not an isolated problem. It’s not merely an urban problem or a mass shooting problem. It’s an American problem and it affects everyone and every town,” she said. 

Karina Vargas, who was struck in the lower back by a stray bullet outside her Aurora high school in 2010, aims to make meaning as an unintended victim of gun violence.

“Some would say I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “But I was exactly where I was supposed to be.”

 

[Photo of Karina Vargas by Stefanie Clarke]

correction: Michael G. Mullen, former chairman of both Obama and Bush Joint Chiefs of Staff, is on the Everytown board, not President Obama.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” should change their name to “Mayors For Legal Guns.” Both names essentially mean the same thing. However, If they want to be true to their agenda, they should probably change their name to “Mayors Against Guns Being Legal.” I’ll bet that the NRA is even against irresponsible gun owners leaving their guns where their children can get them. Proper training is the key.

  2. People should see more history what happens when you can’t defend yourself.I bet people that lived ww2 shindlers list said the same thing that we don’t need these guns sitting around.That will never happen to us.The rest is history.

  3. I guess Bloomberg didn’t learn his lesson the last time he spent his money here. He obviously thinks that everyone who opposed his agenda must be really ignorant. If only he can package his message properly, everybody will immediately agree with his obviously correct opinions. It is hard to believe that someone so “successful” can still be such a loser. Go home Bloomberg, and take your bought and paid for “friends” with you.

  4. This is just one more ignorant NAZI agenda by Bloomberg. He will loose just like he always dose. In the end the United Stats Constitution will out last his dirty money.

  5. Guns are coming after our children? Really? I suppose that pencils and pens make spelling mistakes and that ovens burn the dinners we cook upon them. In the Old Soviet Union, the communist party blamed the subsoil when it could not support a trans-Siberian railway. The CP said that the subsoil was “counterrevolutionary” Huh?

  6. The only thing that seems certain at this juncture, is that a lot more Americans are going to get shot before this issue is resolved to the satisfaction of all.

  7. Quite a collection of comments from the pro gun addicts. My favorite is “ww2 shindlers list” followed by Bloomberg’s “nazi agenda”. DanDan says “America love it or leave it”. It’s DanDan and his ilk’s version of the “final solution”.

    Gun addicts are privy to inside info on the Constitution. The rest of us are bought and paid for shills of Michael Bloomberg or worse, a bunch of “shindlers who don’t need these guns sitting around”.

    I suppose it’s the fact the US Constitution will outlast Bloomberg’s “dirty money” that gives one hope. Afterall, Bloomberg is allegedly a “successful loser” according to Dan, a nazi according to Rick, and “proper training is the key” according to Benjamin.

    As far as dennis lawrence goes, nothing is quite as sacred as ignorance personified in his impoverished attempts to make a point butchering the English language. “The rest is history” for sure.

  8. According to the National Institute of Health, accidents are the leading cause of death in children with the top five being automobile, drowning, fire, falls, and poisoning. If “Mayors For Legal Guns” and “Everytown” are really concerned about the safety of children they should make videos about proper car seat installation, proper storage of cleaning supplies, swimming pool and bathing safety, smoke detectors, etc… I guess children’s safety might not be their highest priority. I also doubt that the NRA and other Second Amendment advocates want children shooting each other. This same video could be used as a tool by Second Amendment supporters illustrating the proper storage of firearms and supervision of children. Perhaps universal background checks before procreation is the real solution. (Demonstrating absurdity with absurdity for you simpletons who can still read).

  9. The second amendment works! We “simpletons” who can still read need to understand that. After all, those of us who are against the extremist NRA and their lame arguments favoring the unfettered proliferation of guns in our culture have “nothing”. I’m honored to be labeled a “simpleton”.

  10. ryecatcher: I never told Bloomberg to leave America. I told him to stay out of Colorado. There is a reason that our country is made of 50 individual states. There is a large amount of diversity from state to state, and often those from one side of the country do not understand the values and lifestyle of those on the other side. Bloomberg is a perfect example. He doesn’t understand the mentality of people who cherish their right to keep and bear arms. He is imposing his urban set of ideals on a rural population. It is in this way that he lost his push to keep certain recalled legislators in office, and I predict that he will lose in his latest effort to sell gun control to the West. So in that way, he is successful in his wealth and power, but he is a loser when he leaves his home element.
    I’m not even sure where to begin with your “final solution” nonsense. So you are calling me a Nazi because I want an outsider from another state to leave my state politics alone? I don’t see the connection.

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