Gun rights have been a heavily debated topic in this 2016 election cycle. Both sides have dropped millions of dollars to support their cause. In support of gun rights, the largest single contributor has been the National Rifle Association. Besides direct contributions to Republicans in the House and Senate totaling $847,000, the group’s various PACs and 501c committees spent $52 million on federal elections alone. About $30 million was spent to support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. The rest was aimed at maintaining a Republican Senate.
The National Rifle Association calls a Hillary Clinton win the death of the Second Amendment. Executive Director of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre said, “If she (Clinton) gets her hands on the Supreme Court and stacks it with just one more justice, every total gun ban she dreams, every confiscation scheme that she craves, will stand up in her court and we all will be kissing our Second Amendment freedom goodbye.” The NRA has dropped an additional $7 million to fight state ballot initiatives in Nevada, Maine and California, bringing the group’s total spending this cycle to nearly $60 million.
There have been other pro gun groups that have spent their share but thus far, none can compete with the NRA’s spending. The Colorado-based National Association for Gun Rights has contributed some $97,000 in congressional races while Gun Owners of America donated $57,000.
On the flip side, anti-gun candidates, Everytown for Gun Safety’s PAC donated $172,825 in support of Hillary Clinton. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s personal PAC, Independence USA is the sole donor of at least $10.5 million. He has also made multi-million dollar donations to committees run by Planned Parenthood and Women Vote. These groups have donated millions to candidates supporting gun control.
Bloomberg has also donated the majority of some $19 million to expand background checks in Nevada and an additional $3 million in Maine. Politico reported this week that Bloomberg’s personal contributions alone have topped $65 billion so far in 2016. Groups under the Everytown umbrella have also heavily contributed in grassroots efforts in all 50 states with a focus of getting Hillary Clinton elected on November 8. Everytown President John Feinblatt said, “Gun Sense Voters have a champion in Hillary Clinton. Our litmus test is simple: does a candidate side with the public or with the gun lobby? Hillary Clinton passes that test with flying colors – pushing back against the NRA’s extreme ‘guns for everyone, everywhere’ agenda, and ushering in a new political calculus that saving lives from gun violence is a winning issue.”
Last week, CBS News ranked the top five political ads this election cycle. One such as includes Democrat Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander assembling an AR-15 blindfolded while talking about background checks in his run for the U.S. Senate. The other top ad is the NRA’s “Kristi’s Story,” about a woman who used a gun for defense and lived to tell about it. The ad is pro Trump.