Former three-term New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he's already done enough good in his life to guarantee he'll go to heaven — but that doesn't mean he's withdrawing from politics entirely.
According to the New York Times, Bloomberg has pledged some $50 million of his vast fortune to build a nationwide organization devoted to passing gun safety laws, which the Mayors Against Illegal Guns co-chair hopes will one day eclipse its ideological opponent, the National Rifle Association.
Citing the NRA's considerable success in recent decades in moving the center of debate on gun safety measures to the right, Bloomberg told the Times, "They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you. If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’"
When it comes to dealing with politicians, Bloomberg argues that supporters of gun safety have to be more like the NRA: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us."
To that end, Bloomberg says his money will be directed less toward television ads and other high-profile P.R. moves and more toward the less-glamorous but, he hopes, more effective work of influencing voters through field operations and targeted outreach. The group will focus in particular on reaching women in general, and mothers in particular, the Times reports.
In the report, Bloomberg dismisses any talk of his reputation as a big government paternalist — a man who tries to ban large soft drinks and cigarette smoking — undermining his fledgling movement's larger goals. He notes that he's tried to make the board of his group bipartisan, and also argues that he is told by people wherever he goes that he's a "rock star."
Yet even better than being a rock star, the ever-confident Bloomberg believes his work on gun safety and public health in general has earned him the approval of the most important judge there is. “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed," he told the Times. "I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”