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November 21, 2014

Anti-gun Group Plans to Waste Money Again in 2016 Elections


The gun control Super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), run by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords,  spent almost $11 million on this year’s mid-term elections with very little to show for it. The group expended over $2 million – more than they spent on any other race – to protect Giffords’ former Congressional seat, which is currently held by her former staffer Ron Barber. Though mired in a recount, it looks like Barber will lose his reelection, which is likely due in no small part to the erroneously defaming ad that ARS chose to air against his opponent Martha McSally.

Overall, half of the candidates that the group supported lost their elections.  And it is not just ARS-backed candidates that lost this year on the pro-gun control platform.  Incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is poised to lose her seat in a run-off election with Congressman Bill Cassidy. Her continued support of gun control measures is definitely a contributing factor to her low standing in the polls.

However, these results are not unexpected. As we have previously highlighted, national support for gun control measures has significantly decreased. Less than half of Americans (47%) believe gun laws should be stricter, a figure that has dropped 11% over the past two years. Additionally, the number of Americans that support a handgun ban has decreased to its second-lowest number in history, with just 26% of Americans endorsing the measure.

Despite having the odds of voter opinion stacked against them, ARS and other gun control groups chose to spend heavily in support of gun control candidates this year. In addition to ARS’s $10.6 million in campaign spending, Mayor Bloomberg’s group Everytown for Gun Safety spent about $12 million in this year’s elections. And ARS has already vowed to make gun control an issue in 2016, claiming that, although the group was unsuccessful this year, it did collect valuable data from voters that will be very useful for them in the next elections.

When analyzing the results of this year’s elections, it is evident that there is a direct correlation between gun control groups’ spending and their success – the more they spend, they more they lose. Their promise to continue to push their agenda in 2016 demonstrates their unwillingness to budge from their rigid ideological conviction that they are right and the voters are wrong.