Among the slick, million-dollar ads for the likes of Pepsi and Honda during the Super Bowl this Sunday, viewers in New York and Boston will see a far more modest spot. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will be sitting on a couch touting an issue most politicians avoid like the plague: gun control…

New York’s activist mayor cannot simply restrict handguns in his city – as he has done with smoking and transfats. Two Supreme Court decisions – District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago – have declared such local initiatives unconstitutional. Instead, Bloomberg launched MAIG, which now has 600 members nationwide. Although it has a handful of private donors, the bulk of MAIG’s $4 million budget comes out of the mayor’s own pocket.

“He’s putting his money where his mouth is,” said Carolyn McCarthy, a Democratic congresswoman from Long Island. She entered politics after a 1993 shooting spree on the Long Island Rail Road left her husband dead and her son severely injured.