NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The group Mayors Against Illegal Guns said Tuesday it will be grading members of Congress through a system very similar to that of the National Rifle Association.
The coalition sent out a letter to senators and representatives outlining the plan, saying the group will issue a scorecard assigning letter grades for gun policy records.
The scorecard will incorporate committee and floor votes, bill co-sponsorships, public statements and other sources in order to “give voters a clear picture of their elected officials’ positions,” Mayors Against Illegal Guns said in a release.
The score will take into account issues including the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, state authority to establish permitting standards for concealed carrying, assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, a federal gun trafficking law and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, its programs, its legal authority, its resources and the confirmation of its director.
“The scorecard will weight votes according to their priority to the mayors in the coalition,” the group said.
One of the group’s co-chairs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said he wants to make sure its 900 bipartisan mayors have their voices “heard loud and clear.”
“For too long, the only voice that has been loud enough to influence Congress has been the Washington gun lobby’s — that’s how we’ve ended up with ineffective gun laws that have fueled our country’s gun violence epidemic,” said Bloomberg.
Bloomberg said with this new scorecard, the NRA does not own the gun control debate anymore.
“For decades, the NRA has been the only voice that’s been talking about guns. They’ve been spending an enormous amount of money and they’re up in arms because all of a sudden, they’ve got somebody else that has another version of the story,” Bloomberg told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
Bloomberg said he hopes the grades will influence how elected officials vote and then how the public votes based on the score.
“We took on five races last Nov. against the NRA. We pointed out the gun positions in those five races and in four of them, the NRA candidate lost,” Bloomberg said.
The other co-chair, Boston’s Thomas M. Menino, said the group will be closely monitoring votes on what he calls “sensible reforms.”
The announcement comes a day after President Barack Obama traveled to Hartford to call on Congress to follow Connecticut’s example in passing bipartisan legislation that calls for widespread restrictions on firearms and just as lawmakers return to Washington D.C. from recess.
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