The US firearm lobby is putting its money where its mouth is, according to figures that show the National Rifle Association alone has contributed almost $1.5 million to members of Congress since 2009.
As debate continues over gun control in the US, both sides are rallying support but data collated by MapLight, an organisation that researches the political influence of money, suggest the gun lobby is miles ahead when it comes to the financial commitment to its cause.
MapLight says the NRA has contributed $1,453,637 to members of Congress since 1 January, 2009.
The most prominent anti-gun organisation in the US, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has put in just $5,868 during the same period.
The NRA’s Political Victory Fund raised $1,467,711 from all US states, while the entire $7500 contributed to the Brady Campaign’s Voter Education Fund came from New York state.
Texas is the US state that puts the most money into the NRA’s political action committee, and it’s also the state that gives most to members of Congress.
California, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the US, is second to Texas in contributing to the NRA’s campaigns, but fourth on the list for providing money to the politicians.
Pennsylvania and Ohio are both in the top five in both categories, but they give more to Congress than the NRA collects.
The figures are only a snapshot of political donations and spending in the gun debate, focussing on just one organisation from each camp and not looking at the influence of the broader gun industry, but they do go some way to explaining the strength of the gun lobby in the US.
US judges have been holding Senate Committee meetings to discuss four key bills that form part of President Obama’s proposed gun law reforms: a ban on semi-automatic rifles, measures to stop illegal trafficking of firearms, protection of responsible firearm sellers, and the School Safety Enhancements Act.
Meanwhile, gun owners are turning out in large numbers to show support for their rights as US states debate gun laws.
Gun owners and the firearms industry flocked to Connecticut’s legislature yesterday as their state lawmakers prepared to debate a ban on semi-automatic rifles – the type called ‘modern sporting firearms’ by shooters and ‘assault weapons’ by the anti-gun lobby and media – as well as the confiscation of magazines larger than 10 shots.
The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen and Connecticut Citizens Defense Leagues united in the callout and organised free parking nearby, shuttle buses and more.