Nightly News   |  March 25, 2013

Gun lobby fights back against Bloomberg’s ads

Bloomberg’s advertising blitz got underway Monday aimed at boosting support for universal background checks in the Senate’s upcoming gun control vote. NBC’s Ron Mott reports

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this comes after a growing debate this weekend on gun control with new york city mayor michael bloomberg right in the middle of it. he is using his own money -- and he's a billionaire -- to finance an ad campaign for universal background checks for gun purchases. that got under way today. our report tonight from nbc's ron mott.

>> reporter: he's got one of the biggest personal bankrolls in america.

>> this year there will be 12,000 people killed in this country with handguns -- illegal handguns.

>> reporter: tonight michael bloomberg is spending some of his fortune on a new ad campaign .

>> guns are for hunting and protecting my family.

>> reporter: aimed at boosting support for universal background checks .

>> background checks have nothing to do with taking guns away from anyone.

>> reporter: the ads are the work of mayors against illegal guns , a group cofounded by new york city 's mayor seven years ago. on "meet the press" mr. bloomberg argued senate votes should argue support confirmed in recent polling.

>> if 90% of the public wants something and their representatives vote against that, common sense says they are going to have a price to pay for that. targeting 15 senators, republicans and democrats.

>> the dishonest premise.

>> reporter: the nra's chief executive, wayne lapierre , said illegal weapons enforcement should be the focus.

>> they don't prosecute any of the criminals that they catch. it's a speed bump for the law abiding. it slows down the law abiding and does nothing to anybody else.

>> reporter: the gun lobby has a campaign of its own.

>> these bills would ban commonly owned firearms.

>> reporter: with residents getting robo calls.

>> three months from one of the most horrendous tragedies that's happened and to call the town of newtown didn't seem like the right thing to do.

>> reporter: today the state's two senators pressed for the calls to stop.

>> you have polling so broadly supporting gun restrictions whether they are assault weapons or universal background checks . at the end of the day it's difficult for democrats to get through anything short of background checks .

>> reporter: the senate is in recess until april 8 and is expected to pick up the fight soon thereafter. the bill containing universal background checks does not include an assault weapons ban which may be considered separately as an amendment.

>> ron, thanks.