CPRC in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Bloomberg has little to show for millions spent on gun control”

Dec 2, 2016 | Featured

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Dr. John Lott had a new op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the truly massive amount of money that Michael Bloomberg is spending pushing gun control.

If it wasn’t for Michael Bloomberg’s billions, there wouldn’t be much of a gun-control movement.

This year, Bloomberg got a background check initiative onto the ballots of Maine and Nevada. He lost in Maine by 4 percent, and won in Nevada by just 0.8 percent. Now, Nevadans won’t be able to privately transfer their firearms without going through a background check.

Bloomberg’s initiative only eked out the win in Nevada because of the $20 million spent to support it, amounting to an incredible $35.30 per vote. He outspent his opponents by a factor of three – in Maine, by a factor of six. Bloomberg was responsible for more than 90 percent of the money going to support these ballot measures.

Of course, this doesn’t count all of the studies that Bloomberg has funded to justify the initiatives. And he gives $50 million a year to Everytown for Gun Safety to push for regulations – 2 1/2 times the amount spent by the National Rifle Association on political activities. Gun-control advocates also receive a lot of free, favorable news coverage.

In short, to get close to earning even 50 percent of the vote, gun-control advocates have had to massively outspend their opponents. And sometimes they still fall short.

So much for the continually repeated claim that 80 to 90 percent of Americans favor background checks on private transfers of guns. If this were true, these initiatives would pass in landslides.

Funding also goes to candidates. From 2013 to 2016, Bloomberg donated a total of $48 million to candidates running for federal office. The NRA contributed a measly $2.1 million.

It is hard to keep track of donations for state and local races across the country, but Bloomberg has clearly devoted resources that the NRA can’t even dream of. In 2015, Bloomberg spent $2.2 million on just two Virginia state Senate races. That is vastly more than the NRA was able to spend on any race for the U.S. Congress. In 2014, Bloomberg spent $150,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken opponent of gun control. This is more than Clarke and his opponent spent on their own campaigns.

In Minnesota this year, Bloomberg spent what the local media describes as “loads of money” to give Democrats control of the state House so that they could push for background checks on private transfers. Instead, Republicans actually picked up a seat.

Research funding is even more lopsided. . . .



  1. Joseph Terry

    John, thanks again for your thoughtful and rigorous examination of this most serious issue. It is so refreshing to see academic rigor applied to what is usually emotion-charged discourse. How can we help? Have you considered a not-for-profit educational foundation to fund scholarly research programs with a “membership” opportunity?

  2. Bill Robinson

    John ,we meant at one of Jason Lewis,s fund raisers last fall. Thanks for coming once again . And thanks for the amount of time and effort you and your staff have put into this data.


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