Gun Reform Group Founded by Mike Bloomberg Backs Joe Biden For President

An influential gun control advocacy group has announced it is backing Joe Biden in the race to become the Democratic presidential nomination, describing the former VP as the candidate who will best "prioritize gun safety" in the White House.

Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun reform group in the U.S., confirmed it is supporting Biden following his decades of service to the firearm violence prevention movement.

The group was formed after the Moms Demand Action gun control advocacy group, set up in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, joined forces with fellow gun reform organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2014.

Everytown for Gun Safety was founded by former presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg, who invested $50 million of his own money into their cause.

In a statement, Everytown for Gun Safety said they are "proud to endorse Joe Biden for president" for several reasons, including helping to pass the modern-day background check system with his support for the 1993 gun safety act known as the Brady Bill.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was named after former White House Press Secretary Jim Brady, who became disabled after being shot in the head during the assassination attempt on then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

His death in 2014 was ruled homicide as a result of the gunshot wound he suffered.

The group also cited Biden's support for the Violence Against Women Act, which includes a provision banning those convicted of domestic abuse from purchasing firearms, and for opposing immunity for the gun industry as reasons for their support.

"When every Democratic candidate is running on the issue of gun safety, deciding who to endorse becomes a question of who will prioritize gun safety as president, and Joe Biden has a track record that proves he will," the group added in a statement.

"We're proud to support him today, and grateful for the support he's given the gun violence prevention movement for decades."

During the democratic debates, Biden attacked rival Bernie Sanders over his record on gun legislation, including voting against the Brady Bill and protecting gun companies from being sued for shootings in 2003 and 2005.

Speaking to The Associated Press, John Feinblatt, head of Everytown for Gun Safety, said that the group looked at the candidate's "total record" when asked if Sanders' voting history also factored in their decision to back Biden.

"You can't confine yourself to just what somebody says they'll do in the future. You have to look at what they've done in the past," he said. "Unquestionably, Joe is a person who's dedicated much of his life to the issue of gun safety."

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Joe Biden (L) speaks with Michael Bloomberg (R) as they join families from Newtown, Connecticut to discuss the need for federal gun laws March 21, 2013, at City Hall in New York. The Everytown for Gun Safety group, founded by Bloomberg, has announced it is backing Biden for president. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty

As expected, fellow gun rights group Brady Campaign—which fought for the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to be passed into law—has also backed Biden.

"Vice President Biden has positioned himself as one of the foremost leaders on the issue this campaign cycle," the group said in a statement. "He has invoked the urgent need for common-sense gun reform during presidential debates even when moderators failed to address the topic.

"At a time when our politics are polarized and people are looking for answers, Vice President Biden can break through the division and deliver real change. His policy platform reflects the kind of comprehensive approach necessary to end gun violence in all its forms."

Before he pulled out of the race, former New York Mayor Bloomberg cited gun control and tackling climate change as his two main presidential policies.

Biden's campaign has been contacted for comment.

This graph, provided by Statista, shows the number of delegates for each candidate as of March 9.

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Gun Reform Group Founded by Mike Bloomberg Backs Joe Biden For President | U.S.