June 10, 2019


The Future Is Surprisingly Bright for Gun Control Advocates (Jennifer Victor, Jun 6, 2019, Medium)

[A]ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40,000 Americans died by gun violence in 2017, the highest number recorded, with the majority of those -- nearly 24,000 -- being deaths by suicide.

But gun control advocates have reason for at least a sliver of optimism: Public sentiment is finally changing around the issue. According to Pew Research Center, for the first time in 10 years, more Americans support controlling gun ownership (52% ) than support protecting gun rights (44%). Moreover, gun control advocacy groups were more mobilized in the 2018 election than pro-gun groups.

The gun control movement was largely catalyzed after the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. Since that tragedy, we've seen a spate of advocacy groups spring up, including Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Giffords Courage to Fight Gun Violence, and Sandy Hook Promise. (We've also, and not coincidentally, seen a spate of atrocities, with, by some accounts an average of one mass shooting per week in the years since then.) Through their outreach and legislative efforts, these organizations have helped change the national dialogue about guns. They've also arrived as a much-needed counterbalance to the goliath of the gun rights movement: the National Rifle Organization. [...]

For the first time, the campaign political activity of gun control groups swamped that of the NRA in the 2018 cycle. What's more, the gun control advocacy movement has morphed into a multi-headed behemoth capable of challenging the NRA in the legislative, judicial, and state politics arenas, and advocating for stricter gun laws with alacrity and sophistication not seen before in the gun control movement.

Many gun control groups were created in response to specific gun violence events. Notable among these are the organizations created by Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, herself a victim of gun violence, whose Giffords PAC spent nearly $18 million in the 2018 election cycle in direct and soft money expenditures. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Everytown for Gun Safety and its super PAC, Independence USA spent another $70 million in 2018 supporting candidates who support gun control.

Their efforts appear to be working. Public support for curtailing gun access is increasing. A recent poll found near unanimous support for universal background checks, finding that 97% of Americans support the measure. At least 15 Republican candidates with A-ratings from the NRA in 2018 lost their House bids, in part due to spending and campaigning from gun control groups.

Posted by at June 10, 2019 12:00 AM