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“We are going to provide support and backing for candidates in U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate races that are attacked by the NRA for taking moderate positions on common-sense gun safety issues,” Mostyn said. “We will also field candidates.”
The NRA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Giffords’ plans.
SUSTAINED NATIONAL ATTENTION
Other gun control groups, like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, report increased support since the Newtown shooting but have not usually put money into elections.
The largest U.S. lobby group for gun rights, the NRA spent $20 million in the 2012 election cycle, including on candidate contributions and its own advertising, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign data.
The NRA says it has 4 million members and its officials frequently frame gun control as an effort driven by elites, including wealthy individuals who live on the two U.S. coasts - a stereotype that a new super PAC might play into.
“The NRA does best in times of normal politics when most people are not paying much attention. But this could be a game-changing moment because of the sustained national attention being given to this issue,” said Robert Spitzer, a political science professor and gun policy expert at the State University of New York College at Cortland.
If Giffords succeeds in raising $20 million, it would dwarf the amount raised by gun control groups for the 2012 elections, said Kristin Goss, an associate professor of public policy at Duke University.
Arizona state Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican who backed a state law allowing non-felons to carry concealed guns without a permit, said the group’s fundraising target seemed high but noted it was an emotive issue that would draw donors.
“I think they’ll raise a lot of money. But if they’re trying to buck the Second Amendment, all the money in the world won’t accomplish that,” he said.