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Gun-control debate: How does Bloomberg stack up against the NRA?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is on a mission to challenge the NRA's longtime sway over gun policies. Here are the strengths each side brings to the gun-control debate.

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The National Rifle Association’s Ruthann Sprague shows a visitor how to play the game at a shooting simulator booth at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md.

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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How do New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his "super political-action committee," Independence USA, stack up against the National Rifle Association (NRA)? Here is a look at the strengths of each side.

What Mr. Bloomberg and his super PAC offer:

Money

The NRA has extraordinarily deep pockets, but still, Bloomberg has a net worth of $27 billion. Undoubtedly, his fortune is his greatest asset.

"There's never been a level playing field when it comes to dollars and cents," says Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for Independence USA. "He's evening the financial playing field."

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"Mayor Bloomberg's involvement reflects the first time you have a force with significant money supporting candidates who favor [gun control]," adds John McGlennon, a political scientist at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. "That's a big change: For all the involvement of other groups like the Brady Campaign, their ability to compete with the NRA financially just didn't exist. This lets [pro-gun-control] candidates know that there is somebody out there who can support them."

Public support

Bloomberg entered the conversation at a crucial juncture, when the Newtown, Conn., shooting led many people to support more gun-control legislation.

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