On Wednesday, President Barack Obama met with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to talk about gun violence. Specifically, the pair talked about what can be done to end the threat that America’s loose standards for access to them poses to public safety.
“The two discussed ways to keep guns out of the hands of those who should not have access to them, and what more could be done at the state and local level to help address gun violence in America,” the White House said of their meeting.
The president’s meeting, held with perhaps the most influential gun control advocate in the nation, was a good opportunity to discuss lobbying strategy in light of the rash of mass shootings in 2015 that have sparked a renewed push for ambitious gun control legislation among reformers.
It also serves as a reminder of the unique political path toward any realistic change on gun policy, when Congress has proven almost pathologically incapable of passing even modest gun reform after years of debate on the matter.
Bloomberg’s clout: In 2014, Bloomberg pledged to spend $50 million on efforts to sway battles over gun policy on the state level, backing organizations committed to policies like expanding background checks. So far, the effort hasn’t beenhugely successful in achieving results, but he is of course fighting an uphill battle. The National Rifle Association boasts millions of members, spends tens of millions of dollars every election cycle and deftly channels the preferences of huge swaths of the population who are fiercely protective of America’s gun culture and…