Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire and advocate of firearms regulation, plans to spend $US50 million ($A53 million) this year setting up a new group aimed at pulling gun-control supporters to the polls.
The new organisation, Everytown for Gun Safety, will focus on women, especially mothers, The New York Times reports.
“This is what the American public wants,” Bloomberg said on Wednesday on NBC’s morning news show, Today.
The powerful pro-gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association, declined to comment.
Gun control is a fiercely divisive issue in the US, where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution alongside such basic rights as free speech and freedom of religion.
President Barack Obama’s plan for broader background checks along with proposals for a ban on military-style assault rifles and limits on ammunition capacity failed in Congress, where Republicans oppose stricter gun laws and many Democrats are reluctant to anger voters.
This despite several recent high-profile shootings, including the shocking killing of 20 children and six teachers at an primary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that made headlines worldwide.
Gun control advocates need to learn from the NRA and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda, including Democrats, Bloomberg told The New York Times.
“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,'” he said of the NRA.
He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”
Bloomberg made nearly $US14 million in federal campaign contributions for gun-control candidates in the 2012 elections, and said his new group’s strategy will focus on expanding the background check system for gun buyers at the state and national levels.
The group will look closely at 15 states, including pro-gun states such as Texas, and other states where gun control initiatives have advanced.
The group aims to sign up one million new supporters this year, would reward political candidates “who are protecting lives, and make sure that those who are trying to keep people from being protected lose elections,” the former mayor said.