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Bloomberg Commits $50 Million To New Grassroots Gun Safety Effort

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is jumping back into the political arena, committing $50 million to continue his push for stricter gun laws.

As WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported, the new campaign will be about targeting political dollars. Candidates who support stronger gun laws will receive money.

Speaking on the "Today" show Wednesday, Bloomberg said the premise of his new group, Everytown for Gun Safety, is simple.

Bloomberg Commits $50 Million To New Grassroots Gun Safety Effort

"To make sure that we reward those who are protecting lives and make sure that those who are trying to keep people from being protected lose elections," said the former mayor.

The National Rifle Association spends $20 million a year on political activities. Bloomberg said he plans to spend $50 million.

"This is not a battle of dollars, this is a battle for the hearts and minds of America so that we can protect our children, protect innocent people," said Bloomberg. "People will vote for whatever they think is in their own self interest to get elected and re-elected."

Women, and particularly mothers, will be the target of the new grassroots effort.

Bloomberg said this isn't about gun control, it's about keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

"Just simple background checks to make sure criminals, minors and people with psychiatric problems can't buy guns," Bloomberg said. "This is simply making sure that people that everybody agrees should not be allowed to buy a gun - criminals, minors and people with psychiatric problems - make sure they can't buy guns."

Bloomberg is a founding member of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns and renewed the push for universal background checks following the Dec. 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

In an interview Tuesday with the New York Times on the grassroots campaign, Bloomberg also discussed the afterlife. "I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to Heaven I'm not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in Heaven. It's not even close," Bloomberg said. 

The NRA is declining comment until its annual meeting next week.

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