July 25, 2012

Anti-Gun Control Groups Spent 17 Times As Much On Lobbying As Pro-Gun Control Groups Last Year

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Aurora, some have called for a renewed debate on gun control.

While there is likely strong evidence on both sides of this debate, the curious thing is that one institution is not having any debate whatsoever: Congress.

I ran the numbers to see what the various Big Money spenders are putting into lobbying Congress on the issue.

I looked at the four main groups that work in this policy space: the pro-gun control Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the anti-gun control National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America.

Last year, the NRA spent $2,905,000 lobbying Congress. The Brady Campaign spent $40,000. Michael Bloomberg’s pro-gun control Mayors Against Illegal Guns spent $200,000 and the anti-gun control Gun Owners of America spent $1,307,996 .

Altogether, pro-gun control groups spent $240,000 and were outspent 17-to-1 by anti-gun control groups, that spent $4,212,996. We’ve created an infographic to illustrate this discrepancy.


Again, no matter what side of this debate you fall on, you probably agree that there should at least be a debate. The lobbying dollars being spent show that one side is vastly outgunning the other (no pun intended).





  • Dorrie Woodson

    The numbers make no sense at all.

  • The numbers in this article make no sense at all.

  • phasegen

    The Constitution protects gun ownership as an individual right. This is indisputable. Also beyond argument is the founding fathers’ intention that guns are the means to protect the people from tyranny of government. The Constitution is very specific in the Second Amendment:

    “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

    And here are three quotes from Benjamin Franklin to drive the point home.

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty.”

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

    “This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

    Mr. Franklin was a wise man:

    If you would not be forgotten
    As soon as you are dead and rotten,
    Either write things worthy reading,
    Or do things worth the writing.

    • CatKinNY

      There is NOTHING in the 2nd Amendment that says ANYTHING about citizens defending themselves against the tyranny of the state. What there is is the abdication of a broke young nation to take responsibility for it’s own defense. At the end of the Revolution, we owed the French crown, our own soldiers and merchants a ton of money. The maintenance of a standing army is expensive, so we rolled the cost over to the states for the maintenance of ‘a well regulated militia’. It took the War of 1812 to make us give up the stupid notion that national defense could be done on the cheap and off loaded onto the states. Oh, and your four Franklin quotes include ONE that supports your position.

      • phasegen

        Two of those three quotes support the statement by the implication of that there being no other way to defend your own rights (rights meaning liberties) than being as well armed as the one threatening to take them.
        England recognized our independence in 1783. The Bill of Rights was only PROPOSED in 1789, and did not go into effect until December 15, 1791. Our war debt to France was paid (ahead of schedule) in 1795. The cost of a standing army wasn’t a consideration, primarily because nobody wanted one.
        That is implied in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution (The Rights and Powers of Congress) which authorizes congress to fund a standing army for a period no longer than two years (Clause 12). A standing army without a formal declaration of war from congress is unconstitutional. Being a 16 year army veteran, knowing that kinda hurts…
        Sincere ignorance, and honest stupidity (credit for that line must go to MLK), are not excuses for ignoring your country’s history, and asking why they did what they did. You should also read the Declaration of Independence, it expresses the mood of the country at that time as well. One of the grievances listed was about the English army…
        Also it expressed the rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Whoever She is).

      • bpeterson

        I cannot believe your ignorance. Carefully read the 2nd amendment and the Federalists papers. Then read what numerous (the majority) Constitutional scollars have said about the 2nd amendment.
        “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
        This statement clearly says the right of the PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. I guess you are not only stupid you cannot read. BTW the militia, as defined by the writers of the constitution and the federalists papers is NOT A MILITARY. It is defined as every able bodied person that can shoot and fight. You must be one of those Liberals that are like a river “BIG AT THE MOUTH AND SMALL AT THE HEAD”. Don’t bother responding, your idiotic logic is not worth reading.

        • CatKinNY

          The jackbooted government thugs are coming for you, Peterson, or maybe your Thorazine dosage needs adjusting again. You’ve jumped into a six month old conversation because you’re shitting your pants. Six months ago I’d have discussed history with you, but in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, I’ve been forced to view, on television and all over the blogosphere, a group of seriously mentally ill people who are a danger to democracy, as exemplified by Alex Jones. Fortunately, you are a tiny minority, and I sincerely hope that you decide to go out, guns blazing, because you refuse to live in a country that won’t allow you to buy absolutely ANYTHING you want. We will all be better off, and safer, if you force the police and our soldiers to kill every last one of you. The Constitution doesn’t actually allow you to own any weapon ever designed, btw, but your gun obsession leaves you totally blind to reality. Here’s some free medical advice. Get some fucking help, and don’t bother to answer. I don’t talk to psychopaths for free.

  • phasegen

    The white bar is the pro-gun lobby. The black is the anti-gun lobby.

  • Rnreb

    I am a stone cold leftist, to the left of Castro. I have guns, I think any law abiding citizen should be able to buy them. We need more mental health care in this country. Have you seen the latest health care plans ?? No mental health care at all is now becoming the norm in these plans. Employe assistance programs are also disappearing. The good paying jobs are gone and the mental health care went with them.

  • Rnreb

    So long as this country continues to ship good paying jobs to low wage countries for the benefit of the 1%, this country will continue to suffer this type of decay. Good jobs have left and mental health care left with the jobs. It is a race to the bottom for America. Events like this are but one symptom of our dying manufacturing sector. Get used to it America, this is only the beginning.

  • CatKinNY

    The numbers make perfect sense if you realize how good incidents like this are for the gun and ammunition manufacturers. As soon as one of these mass murders occur, the NRA, the John Birchers and all the other right wing lobbying groups start beating the drums and telling their followers that the big bad feds are going to outlaw guns and ammo, so you’d better stock up now, while you can. Sales go through the roof, as they did this week in Colorado. It’s the most disgusting, immoral opportunism the world has ever seen.

    • Sagebrush

      I disagree, The most disgusting, immoral, criminal opportunism the world has ever seen was the destruction of the international economy by the banking elite and the corrupt governments who ignored rule of law and the will of their citizens. The wealth and futures of millions of hard working people were sacrificed to benefit the parasites who caused the crash. A national government that would allow that to happen and refuse to investigate the crimes, or prosecute the criminals, and even enact legislation to protect them and and allow them the opportunity to keep doing their crimes creates an opportunity to good to pass up. Corruption at the highest levels in government allowed the financial industries the opportunity to bankrupt the planet, and they did. Just think what these crooks could do if they didn’t have to consider the reaction of 60,000,000 armed Americans. I think I’ll go down to Ace Hardware and pick up some more ammo, never know when I might need it.

      • CatKinNY

        Six to one, half a dozen to the other. The banksters did not set out to destroy the world economy, though – that was just an unfortunate side effect of unleashing instruments so complex that only the young quants who designed them understood, very imperfectly, how they worked. The subprime mortgages did not start in the banking sector, but with the mortgage brokers like Countrywide; it then became a game of musical chairs. The arms merchants, on the other hand, are out to create a world where mass shootings, and a highly paid lobbying arm, send the fearful to the gun store and boost the heck out of sales. See the difference?

        I’m not trying to take away your rifle, but I do want you to go through a backround check before you can legally purchase another, and if you’re on the No Fly List or the Terrorism Watch List, you’re banned from gun or ammo purchases until you can get yourself removed from a list that identifies you as a potential threat. Nor do I want you to be able to purchase automatic weapons and 100 cartridge ammo clips, because those are strictly for things like this shooting. If you think they’d be of much use against the Army, they didn’t do much good for the citizens of Iraq or Afghanistan, did they? Any successful uprising in this country will have the military on it’s side. In the mean time, please feel free to shoot Jamie Dimon, LLoyd Blanfein, Tim Geithner, or even Angelo Mozillo, who the government did try – a jury reluctantly aquitted him because the prosecution was unable to prove that his actions were knowing and deliberate. Until one of you armed patriots stands up and uses a ‘second amendment remedy’ to execute one of these traitors, your desire to engage in fantasies where you and your drum style ammo clip cut down the private security contingent protecting one of these Masters of the Universe will remain nothing more than a public health threat. Those Wall Street big wigs don’t waste a second’s thought on you, but those unarmed drum circles in Zucotti Park scare the shit out of them.

        Do you think people who have tuberculosis but refuse to take the medication that cures it should be allowed the freedom to walk amongst us, coughing, sneezing and spreading it as they go, or do you think that their freedom stops at your personal air space? The law protects you from the tuberculosis spreader; it should also protect me from crazed young men who decide they want to kill as many strangers as they can in a blaze of glory. We can’t completely stop these things, but we can take simple steps to limit the lethality. Holmes would have been able to purchase a rifle and ammo, but if he had to reload after six shots, theatergoers would have had a shot at stopping him. The VA Tech shooter should never have been allowed to purchase a weapon, and was on a list that should have prevented it. He slipped through because we don’t take these limits seriously and don’t strive to ensure that all legal purveyors are plugged into the lists. In the age of computers, that’s a planned fail.

        Your notion that the armed citizens of this nation are all that stand between us further depradations by financial elites is a fantasy. The gun brandishers show up at Tea Party gatherings, pissed off at the subprime borrowers and those poor enough to qualify for food stamps, not the folks on Wall Street. Rick Santelli’s rant was against them, not the people who made out like bandits, and it’s only gotten worse since the Koch brothers took over the organization. There are no guns at Occupy Wall Street, but that’s where the change will come from; the banksters don’t fear the Tea Party, but Occupy makes their blood run cold. They’ve changed the conversation. Sandy Weil, one of the prime architects of financial deregulation, has come out and said he was wrong, that the controls he fought to remove should be reinstated and that the behemoths he fought to create should be dismanteled. Now that’s the kind of change I can believe in.

        You want to eliminate the unholy nexus of power between the top 1% and Washington? So do I. But that’s a change that can only come about by agitating for campaign finance reform, and that won’t happen at the end of a gun barrel. That will only happen if enough of us take to the streets and demand it. Attend rallies and bring your rifle – we’d truly love to have you join us. Call every single representative you have at every level of government and demand change. Sign every petition out there, educate everyone you know. That’s the only way to fix the mess we find ourselves in today.

        • Sagebrush

          By 1998 the main thieves on Wall Street understood exactly what they were trying to accomplish, and they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Their employees in our incompetent government and the rating agencies insured that success. I understand your concerns about cartridge magazine capacity in firearms. I tend to believe armed citizens with proper training could minimize that problem in most situations. As for changing government corruption, agitating for campaign finance reform, and having to big to fail broken up because Sandy Weil says he was wrong along with Greenspan and others. Never happen, even with Occupy Raising hell. If you think it will, I disagree but good luck with that.

          John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776
          (“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.”)
          In the world today nine times out of ten the only way to accomplish this is through the barrel of a gun

          • CatKinNY

            I repeat: Go kill some Wall Street big wigs or stop endangering public health by insisting that automatic weapons and hundred clip cartridges remain available for purchase by people on the Terrorist Watch List and the mentally ill by stymying backround checks. Oh, and needless to say, don’t vote for the leveraged buyout artist who wants to further deregulate Wall Street and cut taxes even more for the wealthy in November.

          • Sagebrush

            Except in self defense or if possible, stopping something like the theater massacre in Aurora I have no intention of killing anyone. I do not believe convicted felons, terrorists, or mentally ill people should have access to firearms of any kind let alone automatic weapons with one hundred round capacity. I submit to a background check every time I buy a firearm without objection. And in good conscience I can’t vote for ether the elite puppet incumbent Democrat nor the elite puppet republican front running candidate. They’re both completely compromised.

          • CatKinNY

            So then you do support some restrictions on gun sales; why did you make me drag it out of you? Now we’re getting somewhere, at least. You state that you oppose the ability of felons, the mentally ill or those identified as potential terrorists to purchase any fiearms. We agree; the NRA does not, and uses it’s clout to block even no brainers like this. Do you think that other people who don’t fall into one of those categories should be allowed to purchase automatic weapons and hundred round clips? If yes, why? What possible use could anyone have for such things, other than killing lots of people?

          • Sagebrush

            Most of the NRA members I know feel exactly as I do. The organization does not encourage that convicted felons, terrorists, or the mentally ill be allowed to possess firearms. It does encourage stiffer penalties for those who commit crimes with firearms or try to obtain them illegally.
            Automatic weapons are already illegal, and if your referring to semiautomatic weapons. Who will determine who will be allowed and who won’t be allowed to own them?

          • CatKinNY

            You’re very naieve if you think those are the NRA’s actual positions. If that were the case, it would be the law in every state in the union. Who in the world do you think lobbies lawmakers to block the sharing of information about those with mental illness, to allow those on the Terrorism Watch List and The No Fly List to be able to purchase guns? Good God, man, wake up and smell the bloody coffee.

            Do you think that semiautomatic weapons and huge ammo clips should be available to the general public? They are the weapons of soldiers, not sportsmen, since their only purpose is the murder of many people in one fell swoop.

          • Sagebrush

            I’ve been an NRA member for a long time and if they aren’t the organizations actual position they are mine and the fellow members I know. Information on mental health is not shared because doctors and health providers do not share their patients information. As for the No Fly and terrorist Watch List, you probably made both of those with your comments (” please feel free to shoot Jamie Dimon, LLoyd Blanfein, Tim Geithner, or even Angelo Mozillo,”) (” Until one of you armed patriots stands up and uses a ‘second amendment remedy’ to execute one of these traitors,”) (” I repeat: Go kill some Wall Street big wigs or “) because you can bet those comments rang the alarm bells on the FBI and NSA computers big time. Tim Geithner is a federal government official who by law is fifth in the United States presidential line of succession. That is how easy it is to make those lists and I would bet you made at least one of them.

            And yes, if your a law abiding citizen who like to shoot military matches or just likes to shoot modern weapons, you should be able to buy anything thats legal to own.

          • CatKinNY

            “Just think what these crooks could do if it wasn’t for fear of the reaction of 60,000,000 armed Americans” was your remark that started this whole meme, and you were speaking of the crooks on Wall Street and their bought enablers in Washington, so I think it’s fairly safe to say that if ‘they’ are reading this conversation, they’ll find you a much bigger threat than me; besides, they still let Sharon ‘Second Amendmet Remedies’ Angle on planes, so I really wouldn’t worry about it.

            Whenever someone makes a statement like that, they are clearly indicating that they are contemplating the possibility of an armed insurrection should the government not comply with their wishes. I didn’t believe you actually meant that, so I pushed you and got you to admit that you would not, in fact, be willing to take up arms against any of the people whom you (rightly) hold responsible for what’s happened to working people all over the world. Having established that you will not be attempting to overthrow the tyrranical federal government, we can dispense with any constitutional or philosophical considerations and discuss guns as lethal objects.

            You ducked my question by stating that law abiding citizens who enjoy shooting modern weapons should be able to purchase whatever the law allows. But the question is should someone’s enjoyment of owning and shooting semi automatic weapons trump the right of a theater full of people to attend a movie without having to face an apparently schitzophrenic young man wearing kevlar, tossing tear gas grenades and firing off 70 odd rounds in two minutes? My answer to that question is no. Civilians do not need to be able to purchase any of these items as hobbyists when their pursuit of their hobby inevitably enables lunatics to also purchase them and kill a bunch of strangers. This is a public health matter, and hobbyists are no more entitled to endanger public health than is that person with TB who doesn’t want to take the meds for a year. We literally lock those people up and make them take the meds until they’re cured. We place restrictions on gun hobbyists all the time – hunting can only occur in season, and a lot of animals are strictly off limits all year round because they’re endangered. Most people find that perfectly reasonable, so why would it be unreasonable to say that semi automatics and large clips are also out of bounds? And don’t give me the Constitution; we’ve already established that you’d never use a weapon on a person except in self defense.

            Doctors are not priests, by the way. There are real limits to patient confidentiality and priveledged conversation, and if a patient presents as likely to be a harm to themselves or others, there is no expectation of privacy. The doctor is supposed to notify law enforcement, which should land the person right on the ‘no buy’ list. Unfortunately, in a lot of states it doesn’t, even if the person has been involuntarily committed, as was the case with the VirginiaTech guy. If you present at your doctor’s office with syphilis, he will notify the Health Department, which will, in turn, contact you and assist you in figuring out who gave it to you, who you might have given it to, and notify all of those people that they need to be treated. If we faced gun violence as unflinchingly as we face VD, we could have as clear a set of protocols for keeping guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them as we do for tracking down spirochetes.

          • Sagebrush

            You have your opinion, I have mine, I guess we have to agree to disagree.

          • CatKinNY

            OK, we’ll end this discussion, but not before I point out that an ‘opinion’ that you can’t logically defend is not an opinion at all, but a feeling. Feelings are fine, but they should always take a back seat to facts when determing public policy. Cheers!

  • AlanMacDonald

    Ironically, when hunters go out for game birds they are regulated to limit their shotguns to only three shots in the magazine while shooting at birds, but when gun toting nuts go out to shoot other people in America no regulations apply to how many shots they can have in their magazines.

    Strange, eh?

    Gun owners and hunters are fine with a three shot limit on ducks, but the NRA lobby wants no limit or regulation on killing people with a gun — which seems nuts?

    So who is the NRA really lobbying for? Hunters or the US military ‘weapons industry’ which sells 70% of all global weapons of war??

    Where does the NRA get all the money to be the most powerful lobby in Washington?

    From their own middle/working-class private members and the few small US sporting ‘gun makers’ — or from the ten most massive bank accounts of:

    Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)

    > Arms sales 2010: $35.73 billion

    > Total sales 2010: $45.80 billion

    > Arms sales as pct. of total sales: 78%

    > Total profit: $2.93 billion

    > Total employment: 132,000

    > Sector: Aircraft, Electronics, Missiles, Space

    Boeing, Northrop, General Dynamics, et al ??? —- see top ten global weapons makers detail here:


    I’m just wondering out loud.

    Best luck and love to the new expanding “Occupy Empire” educational and revolutionary movement.

    Liberty, democracy, justice, and equality


    • CanadianEh

      Ducks do not have standard capacity mags with semi automatic rifles shooting at your kids in classrooms

      You, teachers, and the rest of America’s good non violent citizens deserve a fighting chance too.

      Try disarming the criminals and violent psychopaths utterly. Do not reduce their mag sizes. Do not reduce their arms. Disarm them entirely. Disarm dangerous violent people entirely.

      No one has a problem with that. No gun owners. Not the NRA. No one.

      We do have a problem with scapegoating good people and disarming victims of gun violence in the FALSE name of stopping gun violence.

  • lmjor

    In 1994, Congress passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, set to expire in 2004. Due to intense “lobbying” by the wealthy NRA of members of Congress of both parties, it was allowed to expire in 2004. I’m calling on my members of Congress to reinstate this ban and suggest others do the same immediately.

  • Only 17 times?

  • As a CO group interested in getting money out of politics, we also discuss why laws are not brought up by politicians after such a tragedy. We’ve done some research and compiled a list of current CO lawmakers who have taken gun lobby money: http://www.cleanslatenow.org/state_and_federal_colorado_lawmakers_who_are_recipients_of_gun_lobby_money. Our founder, a former State Senator discusses his experience in trying to get a law passed in the face of special interests: http://www.cleanslatenow.org/guns_and_laws

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  • MarkGreenberg

    There are shootings everywhere but it seems like the ones that only get on the news is that some kid or wacko decided to go on a shooting spree in a place where fire arms don’t belong. The government is going about this the wrong way because those kinds of people don’t care about the laws or how to obtain the firearms legally so if the idiots in politics want something done right they should go after the illegal arms dealers not imposing more gun control on law abiding citizens. More gun control will not stop the shootings

  • James McNenny

    I have come up with a constitutional law which will end the handgun violence in America and which I intend to present to Congress. Can someone give me the name of an organization that can and will assist me in the endeavor. My email address is [email protected] which most websites will not accept for some unknown reason.

    • NordopiaHills

      maybe because you tend to write anti-gun letters to the editor of the Akron Beacon Journal in which you claims are simply not based in fact,or reality.

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  • rthorne

    RED ALERT! MARTIAL LAW DECLARED FEMA REGIONS 3-6 ON OCTOBER 1, HERE’S THE PROOF..http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1CKNKZ1xk5E

  • LarryEArnold

    Your infographic indicates 2011 spending, all of which happened long before the 2012 Aurora shooting.
    In 2013, on the other hand, anti-gun groups spent $14.1 million on TV advertising, seven times the gun-rights organizations’ $1.9 million.

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  • Ken

    The NRA is a bottom-up organization funded by individual members doing what we the members desire.

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  • Gearmoe

    Anti-gun rationale: Disarming law-abiding citizens results in disarmed criminals.

    Anti-gun rationale: A disarmed Country is a safe Country.

    Anti-gun rationale: Give all control to the Government.

    Anti-gun rationale: A firearm owner is a murderer.

    The anti-gun movement is playing with fire, actions against the US are similar to the actions of terrorism. The label of traitor is a glove fit.

  • nicephotog

    Apparently this anti-gun group feels the problem is using a few fingers less , HOWEVER, without firearms it is usually a lot of blood and limbs alike a recent culprit in Boston!

    The pistols have been illegal in Australia since around 1902(around Australia’s year of Federation). whether a knife , lump of wood , iron bar , most ad-hoc weapon systems of killing or fighting causes horrendous injuries.

    This invites his name as nick-name to be used people (whom take for granted a firearm will always be there to cleanly harm or kill from either perspective in a crime problem to remember what happens if they have only alternate methods) to remember what the injury result often can equal.

    The “Boston Bomber”(non firearm attacker) is the equal of many of these medieval and prehistoric equipment that replaces the firearm as can be seen by the photographs of victims that day near the marathon finish after the bomb detonated showing the terrible similarity of wounds and number of dead(only two dead).

    The below then deserve to be referred to as “Boston Bomber” or “would be Boston Bomber” alike Lanza’s girlfriend “Queen Hoddle of Strathfield in Cairns 2014”

    “Teenage Boston Bomber”

    “Home invading Boston Bomber”

    “Another home invading Boston Bomber”

    Machete, axe used in bloody home invasion April 21, 2011

    …Boston Bomber”

    …Boston Bomber”

    …Boston Bomber”

    …Boston Bomber”

    …Boston Bomber”

    This here is the most simplified form of the “Boston Bomber” with two knife victims

    The list goes on…..

    (You may be interested to know that the following is illegal in Britain and its commonwealth countries but there are various weapons in houses around in Australia) This following IS NOT Australian footage or incident!

    But it is what it can become easily in Australia or Britain in your house (the people in the house won this one but it can appear the opposite)!

    Redo of Bob Englehart’s cartoon because it does not show what occurs after gun control is in place…

    I almost forgot!!! The Khmer Rouge kept old gun barrels to execute death sentenced prisoners at the burial pits “because bullets cost too much” and they don’t use money and had very little resources , they used a “method of two strikes to the rear of the head using the bare gun barrel” , aside that, the machete on millions of people!

    oddity: http://aussiecriminals.com.au/2012/07/18/man-charged-with-murder-over-mystery-disappearance-of-mt-isa-couple-in-cairns/