Gun rights groups pour money into American elections at a level that dwarfs their gun control opponents.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and its allies have had a significant effect on Connecticut in particular, where a mass shooting on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School left 27 dead.
Since 1996, the NRA has spent about $350,000 to influence elections in Connecticut, according to MAPLight.org. At least 15 sitting members of the state legislature received contributions from the NRA and, during the most recent session, about 40 pieces of legislation were introduced involving firearms.
On the federal level, since 2011, the NRA alone has spent 10 times more on lobbying than gun control groups.
Gun rights groups contributed a total of $3 million to political candidates in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). 93% of that money went to Republicans. It was their most active election cycle since 2000. In contrast, gun control groups spent less on lobbying in the 2012 election cycle that at anytime since 1990, which is as far back as CRP has data.
The money doesn’t just stop with contributions to candidates. The NRA also dropped about $17 million in independent expenditures in the 2012 election cycle, mostly to defeat Barack Obama.
In addition to the NRA, the Gun Owners of America, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, The National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Boone & Crockett Club are a few other gun rights allies.
It is a far more effective political movement than gun control groups seem to have put together and is part of the reason meaningful gun control regulations don't make it far in Congress and state legislatures like Connecticut.