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The debate over gun control takes center-stage
04:10 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A major gun safety advocacy organization announced Friday it is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

Everytown for Gun Safety president John Feinblatt said in a statement: “Gun Sense Voters have a champion in Hillary Clinton. Our litmus test is simple: does a candidate side with the public or with the gun lobby? Hillary Clinton passes that test with flying colors – pushing back against the NRA’s extreme ‘guns for everyone, everywhere’ agenda, and ushering in a new political calculus that saving lives from gun violence is a winning issue.”

Richard Martinez, an outreach associate with the Everytown organization in California whose son was killed in a 2014 shooting near University of California-Santa Barbara, said in the statement that he will be voting for Clinton in the critical California primary on Tuesday “because she is the only candidate who fights for gun violence survivors and stands up to the extremist gun lobby.”

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Everytown for Gun Safety was launched in 2014 with a $50 million pledge from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate of gun control laws, in response to the Sandy Hook shooting massacre.

The organization describes itself as “a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities,” and says it works to pass ballot initiatives requiring criminal background checks on gun sales and “support candidates in federal and local races who support gun safety.” It was the top spender among gun safety groups in the 2014 election cycle, according to the campaign finance tracking site OpenSecrets.org.

Bloomberg has said he considered a presidential bid himself in 2016, expressing dissatisfaction with the field of candidates and saying the public deserved “a lot better.” But the business mogul ultimately decided against a run, citing ballot access challenges and the lack of a sophisticated political operation.