Like his boss, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, John Feinblatt is a data guy. Feinblatt used his number-crunching skills at City Hall to help make agencies more efficient, and served as Mr. Bloomberg's point person on criminal justice, says the Wall Street Journal. And now, as president of the Bloomberg group Everytown for Gun Safety, he is taking the same approach to a state-by-state, town-by-town fight to change gun laws. A year after the mayor left office, the group says it has 2.5 million supporters and 40,000 donors. It uses algorithms to identify elections and target voters that could swing on the gun issue. The approach has produced high-profile victories, such as an initiative passed in November in Washington state strengthening background checks for gun buyers.
“We use a lot of data,” said Feinblatt, 63. “We're trying to improve human lives. We want to do this in the best way and the most strategic and precise way possible.” The National Rifle Association continues to cast Bloomberg as an out-of-touch billionaire with no respect for Second-Amendment rights or those who exercise them. The affinity between Feinblatt and Bloomberg blossomed in 2001 over a data terminal designed by Feinblatt as director of the Center for Court Innovation, a nonprofit he founded in 1996. “I think he liked it a lot,” said Feinblatt, a former attorney for the Legal Aid Society. “It had colors. It would look red if [offenders] weren't showing up or if they failed a drug test. It answered every question that you wanted to know. He's a data guy. I think so am I. I think he and I both believe that data tells you stories.”