A flood of money from a few wealthy individuals who would like American freedom restricted is pouring into this midterm election.
As the average National Rifle Association (NRA) member gives $20 t0 $30 to the cause annually, press reports say Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, will spend $100 million of his $53 billion fortune on races in Congress alone in this midterm election. His goal is to elect Democrats who will push his agenda.
Though he once had an “R” next to his name (maybe for “RINO”), Mr. Bloomberg has openly been a Democrat for some time and his ambitions have always been for nanny-state liberalism. He famously tried to outlaw the “Big Gulp” soda in NYC, though a court shot down the ban by ruling he “violated the state principle of separation of powers.” When he was governor of New York City, he even sent agents to Virginia to attempt to entrap local gun dealers in an out-of-state sting operation.
As Mr. Bloomberg prepares for a possible 2020 run for president of the United States, he is pumping so much money into this cause he is drowning the false narrative from the mainstream media that campaign donations and expenditures from gun-rights organizations outspend those who want to further restrict Second Amendment rights.
“Three individuals, two of whom are billionaires with armed security details — Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer — and Gabby Giffords through her Super PAC, say they will spend more than $100 million collectively to sway the 2018 elections to deny Americans their Constitutional right to protect themselves via their Second Amendment rights this fall,” says Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for firearms manufacturers.
In contrast, Mr. Keane says, “Average American gun owners don’t have millions to try to influence elections. What they have is their votes. When they and gun owners nationwide see the over-the-top TV ads, like the one Giffords had to pull down, and recognize that, once again, their rights are being threatened, they will turn out to vote.”
At first glance, as we go into this 2018 midterm election gun-control and gun-rights groups appear to be well matched when it comes to giving money to politicians. The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org shows that gun-control groups have given $1,904,298 so far to congressmen ($1,869,550 to Democrats); whereas gun-rights groups have given $2,351,764 ($2,302,714 to Republicans).
A deeper look, however, shows this is only the beginning of what’s being spent and that the gun-control money is mostly coming from a few people, most notably from Mr. Bloomberg. His group Everytown for Gun Safety has, as this was being written, spent $730,000 on lobbying Congress. The other big donor on the list is Giffords, which spent $230,000 on lobbying efforts. Giffords was founded by former Democratic Arizona congresswoman and mass-shooting survivor Gabby Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.
The gun-rights money on lobbying Congress has come from the NRA, an association with more than 5.5 million members (they spent $2,006,000), from the NSSF (they spent $1,950,000) and from a few other gun-rights associations that represent hundreds of thousands of other gun owners.
Even the NSSF, which is often labelled the “gun lobby,” is a trade association with more than 10,000 members — firearms manufacturers, distributors, retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s clubs and media — that directly employs about 150,000 people in the United States. These are mostly blue-collar jobs.
Clearly, voters, not war chests of money, is the true power of the gun-rights community. There are now more than 100 million Americans who legally own guns in the U.S. More than 18 million of these Americans now have permits to carry concealed firearms (that’s not counting the many who carry concealed in the 10 states that don’t require permits). Gun owners belong to sportsmen’s clubs, to shooting clubs and to associations, such as the NRA. These active people tend to vote for their freedom, making them a constituency to fear in many swing states and districts.
In contrast, neither Everytown nor Giffords are membership organizations; neither of their websites even mention having a membership, though they are quick to ask for money.
So we have this large segment of the American citizenry who owns guns and so fund the gun-rights movement through expenditures and memberships, and we have a few very wealthy people who are the primary funders of the gun-control groups. It is no exaggeration to say this is a political battle between those holding hard to freedom in their hands, and a few wealthy elitists who want to take the peoples’ freedom away.
Everytown for Gun Safety, Mr. Bloomberg’s group, recently announced it will spend $5 million on digital ads this election targeting 15 House races. Everytown says it is targeting House districts in suburban communities outside of cities such as Atlanta, Kansas City and Miami. Everytown also said it will spend $10 million on just four gubernatorial races in Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico.
Giffords, meanwhile, announced it is spending $4 million on television advertisements targeting House Republicans Reps. Mike Coffman (Colorado), Barbara Comstock (Virginia) and Jason Lewis (Minnesota).
Even USA Today, which hardly has a pro-gun editorial slant, recently reported that the number of ads being bought by gun-control groups in this election cycle is far outpacing gun-rights spots.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is also getting in on the attacks on freedom. They are running a gun-control ad targeting Rep. Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican who is in a tough re-election battle with former Obama administration official Tom Malinowski.
Mr. Bloomberg has spent big and lost before, such as in Virginia and Maine. All it takes for American freedom to win is for enough voters to realize what this is really all about.
• Frank Miniter’s latest book is “Spies in Congress: Inside the Democrats’ Covered-Up Cyber Scandal.”