Former-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he is bringing his existing gun-regulation groups under one umbrella organization to widen each group's reach.
Bloomberg has provided $50 million to establish Every Town Demands Action, a nationwide effort to advocate for gun control. One of those groups is Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Kelly Burke, who is the president of Texas chapter, describes her group as a startup without any capital.
“Obviously Mayor Bloomberg is pledging a huge amount of money so that we can continue to do the things we have been doing and really make in roads, because that's what it's about, activating the voices that have been missing,” Burke said.
Burke said part of this effort will allow their group to have more of an influence going into the midterm elections and 2015 legislative session.
"The mom’s are energized, we are galvanized and we are not stopping," Burke said. "And if we learn nothing from the exciting news today is that the drum beat against the legislators who are not being sensible will only get louder. And they can either change their mind and get on board or they will be drummed out of office.”
Burke said the money and infrastructure Bloomberg is providing will also allow grassroots groups like theirs to expand their outreach and advertising.
Those voices range from Houston Mayor Annise Parker to people like Newtown, Conn.-resident Carley Soto, whose sister was the teacher that shielded her students and was shot to death during the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
“How many more dangerous individuals are allowed to purchase weapons that will end in a heartbreak?" Soto said. "I never would’ve thought that something as horrific as the Sandy Hook massacre would’ve happened in my sister’s school, but gun violence knows no bounds.”
Just outside the event in Austin, the group Moms with Guns Demand Action protested the merger of the gun regulation groups.
“We don't oppose background checks, but what we need is enforcement of the laws, we don’t need new laws," said Diana Ramirez, who was one of the open-carry moms. "There are plenty of laws on the books.”
Ramirez said groups like Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America are trying to regulate private sales and that is a violation of her constitutional rights. She said she doesn't understand what gun crimes have to do with her life as a private citizen.