At the end of one of the gun control movement’s most active year in recent history, two of its most high-profile organizations are joining forces.
Billionaire and outgoing New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action announced Thursday that they were merging.
"We started this movement as just 15 mayors committed to protecting our cities – and we’ve since been joined by more than 1,000 mayors and more than 1.5 million Americans from big cities, small towns, and all different walks of life," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Gun violence is, unfortunately, an issue that affects every community, and coming together with Moms Demand Action today will strengthen our efforts to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and save lives."
Flush with millions of dollars from Bloomberg’s personal fortune, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has flexed its weight in numerous legislative and electoral battles across the country this year, supporting gun control initiatives and like-minded politicians in Colorado, Virginia, and Chicago, among others.
Moms Demand Action was founded by Shannon Watts, a mother of five, shortly after the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut last year. In addition to demanding comprehensive gun control legislation, the group successfully lobbied Starbucks to ban firearms from its coffee shops. The group says it has more than 130,000 members in all 50 states.
Bloomberg’s organization boasts more than 1,000 mayors and 1.5 million supporters.
Together, the two organizations hope to marry Bloomberg’s financial clout with the activist bent of Moms Demand Action.
John Feinblatt, chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told USA Today that Moms Demand Action will fill "the intensity gap" and called the merger "a turning point for the movement."