Gun Control Discussions Are Sparking Donations to Campaigns on Both Sides of the Debate

Oct 3, 2017

Credit MBandman / Creative Commons

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is reopening the twin issues of gun rights and gun control in Virginia, just as campaign season is in full swing. And, as Michael Pope reports, both sides of the issue are spending heavily on the issue.

Campaign finance records show gun rights advocates have already spent about $125,000 on the election. Groups like the NRA are directing their money at the House Republican Campaign Committee, the Republican Party of Virginia and a political action committee that supports Republicans who oppose closing the gun show loophole and universal background checks.

“People don’t vote gun control. They usually vote on other issues.”

That’s Phillip Van Cleve at the Virginia Citizens Defense League, who says gun owners are more likely to vote the issue than people who support gun control.

“The gun show loophole is merely a step toward universal background checks because when that doesn’t work then they’re going to say oh well it doesn’t work because people can still sell guns in their front yard to somebody.”

Campaign finance records show there’s lots of money on the other side of this issue too, although not as much. Groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and the Pride Fund to Stop Gun Violence have given about $100,000. They’re directing their money to the House Democratic Caucus and the three Democrats on the statewide ticket as well as former television anchor Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend died in an act of gun violence on live TV.  He’s now running for the House of Delegates.

“The more we can exert pressure on people who are there who are unwilling to have these very important issues brought up to a vote before the full House, we’ll see what the climate is after November.”

Some of the biggest checks may come late in campaign. That’s what happened two years ago, when Everytown for Gun Safety pumped more than $2 million into a handful of seats late in the race.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.