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NRA, Bloomberg Group Spar Over Who Is Winning Gun Debate

New gun rights laws far outnumber new gun control laws

BY: Stephen Gutowski
September 17, 2015 4:45 pm

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and a gun control group funded in large part by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg offered competing views of who is winning the gun debate.

"We are seeing it again and again, that this is actually a winning issue and you can vote to protect the American public and make the American public safe, and your political career will flourish," John Feinblatt, president of the Bloomberg-funded gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, told the Associated Press Tuesday.

The NRA said Feinblatt's claim was merely spin on Thursday.

"Michael Bloomberg's groups are willing to do 'whatever it takes' to push their unpopular gun control agenda," Catherine Mortensen, an NRA spokesperson, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Apparently that includes spinning the truth to make people believe they are winning the gun control debate."

Everytown pointed to a pair of recent laws in the Pacific Northwest as proof of the gun control movement's success. Within the last year, both Oregon and Washington passed laws imposing background checks on gun sales between private parties. The lawmaker who introduced Oregon's measure only narrowly avoided facing a recall election for his vote, however.

Mortensen cited hundreds of gun rights measures enacted in recent years as evidence that the gun movement remains more influential than gun control advocates.

"The fact is, over the past three years, states across the country have signed into law nearly 300 new measures protecting and expanding Second Amendment Rights," she said. "That's almost ten times the number of new anti-gun laws."

"We know the American people are on our side, and we have the facts to back it up."

The NRA estimates that since 2013 it has helped pass 271 pro-gun or pro-hunting laws in 33 states, while only 36 new gun control laws had passed in 10 states. The NRA also pointed to electoral victories, where more than 90 percent of the candidates they backed for office won, as proof of the gun rights movement's strength.

Additionally, for the first time in its history, a CNN poll released this month shows most Americans think current gun laws are "about right," not too loose.

The NRA is not dismissing Everytown or other Bloomberg-backed gun control groups.

"But we are taking Bloomberg seriously because he's already shown he's willing to spend 'whatever it takes,'" Mortensen said. She said the NRA's anti-Bloomberg ad, which aired during last night's Republican debate on CNN, shows how seriously they take the former mayor's gun control efforts.

The NRA also launched a nationwide ad campaign featuring NRA members including Navy Cross recipient Marcus Luttrell, retired Marine Oliver North, and the Blaze's Dana Loesch this month.