NRA, Bloomberg Get Ready for Gun Control Showdown

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 24 2013 4:57 PM

NRA, Bloomberg Get Ready for Showdown on Gun Control Legislation

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new $12 million advertising campaign to push key senators to back gun control legislation

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

The full-on battle between the nation’s top gun-rights group and the man who has emerged as the biggest backer of gun control law begins next month. That’s when the U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin looking at comprehensive gun control legislation, marking the first time in years such significant gun control legislation will be discussed in Congress. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre warmed up for the showdown on NBC’s Meet the Press. Bloomberg warned lawmakers would pay at the ballot box if they fail to back reform, while LaPierre insisted that Bloomberg “can’t buy America.”

Bloomberg’s influential group Mayors Against Illegal Guns launched a $12 million advertising campaign this weekend in 13 states to convince key lawmakers. (Watch after the jump.) "If 90 percent of the public want something, and their representatives vote against that, common sense says, they are going to have a price to pay for that,” Bloomberg said. The New York mayor also said that he doesn’t believe “we should give up on assault weapons ban” although eh recognized “it is a more difficult issue for a lot of people.”

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LaPierre pushed back, saying gun owners would stand up to the New York mayor, characterizing Bloomberg as an out of touch billionaire. "He can't spend enough of of his $27 billion to impose his will on the American people," he said. "He can't buy America." (Watch excerpts of the interviews after the jump.)

In his weekly address released Saturday, President Obama urged Congress to take action on gun control, criticizing lawmakers for taking too long to make any substantive progress, reports the Washington Post. “Today there is still genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” Obama said. “But you–the American people–have spoken. You’ve made it clear that it’s time to do something.”

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Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.