If you saw CNN’s town hall dog and pony show following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, you saw students berating the NRA’s Dana Loesch and asking Sen. Marco Rubio how he liked the blood on his hands. Not to mention Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel grandstanding for the anti-gun crowd. But you may not have realized that you were also watching an extremely effective ad for the NRA.
Maybe you watched some of the saturation coverage of the March For our Lives gun control bacchanal in D.C. It culminated in David Hogg raising his balled-up little fist in defiance against the big bad NRA and the evil gun lobby.
You may not have realized that with every spoon-fed speech delivered by a sympathetic little moppet, tailor-made to pull on middle America’s heartstrings, you were also witnessing the best commercial for NRA membership since Barack Obama assigned the task of “reforming” America’s gun laws to Slow Joe Biden.
Newton said every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That being the case, the other side of the gun control push has been a fundraising bonanza for the NRA.
As the student-led March for Our Lives movement captured the nation’s attention in the weeks after the Parkland shooting, the other side of the gun control debate enjoyed a banner month of its own.
The National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund raised $2.4 million from March 1 to March 31, the group’s first full month of political fundraising since the nation’s deadliest high school shooting on Valentine’s Day, according to filings submitted to the Federal Elections Commission. The total is $1.5 million more than the organization raised during the same time period in 2017, when it took in $884,000 in donations, and $1.6 million more than it raised in February 2018.
To be fair, a new president who isn’t Hillary Clinton had just been sworn into office last February. America’s firearm owners and gun rights advocates had visions of over-the-counter suppressors and national reciprocity dancing in their heads. Still . . .
The $2.4 million haul is the most money raised by the NRA’s political arm in one month since June 2003, the last month when electronic federal records were readily available. It surpasses the $1.1 million and $1.5 million raised in January and February 2013, the two months after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Worth noting is that the haul wasn’t made up of a few big dollar donors opening their checkbooks.
Most of the donations, $1.9 million of the $2.4 million total, came from small donors who gave less than $200.
Meanwhile the cash hasn’t been flowing in quite so fast for the Civilian Disarmament Industrial Complex.
Gun control groups haven’t been able to match the NRA’s fundraising. Everytown for Gun Safety’s Political Action Fund raised $13,580 in March while former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ Political Action Committee raised $129,589 in March. Two South Florida lawmakers have received donations from gun control groups this election cycle. Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who introduced a bill to ban bump stocks after the Las Vegas shooting, received $1,000, while Democratic state Rep. David Richardson, who is running for Congress to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, received $14,108 from gun control groups.
Keep talking, David Hogg. Keep talking.