A new "journalism startup" funded by anti-gun advocate Michael Bloomberg debuts this week promising to change the debate on guns in America — though the direction is a secret.
Called The Trace, the website will track news about guns in the nation, but not necessarily parallel Bloomberg's pro gun-control views, according to insiders. It is not anti-gun, said one associate of the site.
In Washington, where the site will be unveiled at a preview party, some close to the startup said that backers will include Republicans and Democrats in a demonstration of its effort to promote "moderate" gun policy.
The invitation for the Tuesday night event, obtained by Secrets, reads: "Please join us for a preview of The Trace. The journalism startup dedicated to changing the conversation about guns in America."
The National Rifle Association doesn't buy it. "This project is yet another illustration of Bloomberg's ego-driven zeal to control other Americans and diminish not just their rights, but their access to reliable information about their rights," its lobbying shop said.
The launch of another news site by Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, head of the Bloomberg news operation, and funder of several anti-gun sites including Mayors Against Illegal Guns, comes as President Obama and Democrats are trying to revive their gun control agenda. Last week, legislation was proposed, for example, to require a police-issued license prior to buying a handgun.
The Trace is headed by former New Republic story editor James Burnett. He didn't respond to an email question about the project, one sign of the secrecy around it. His Twitter account describes him as "editorial director, a site to be named later." But his Twitter handle gives it away: "TraceBurnett."
And a reporter working a story for the website described herself as "a freelance writer for The Trace, a soon-to-be-launched online news magazine about guns and gun rights."
In the only story about The Trace, New York's "Capital" said the site will be the editorial arm of Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety. The group draws attention to gun violence, builds protests against organizations and companies that don't ban guns in stores, and promotes background checks.
While the associates wouldn't provide details about what the site will cover, provide the day it goes public or even the genesis of its name, "tracing" is a commonly used reference to how police track down the ownership of guns involved in violence.
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