I haven't posted on this subject for a year so I thought that it was time to update my posting on how both gun rights and gun control interests fund America's political theatre. Fortunately, Open Secrets has done a great deal of the work for me. In this posting, we will see which presidential candidates in the 2016 cycle have received support from either the pro- or anti-gun interests and which Members of Congress have been the biggest beneficiaries of both pro- and anti-gun interests over the past quarter century.
Let's start by looking at the totals spent by gun rights groups during the current cycle:
Republicans have received the lion's share of gun rights contributions with the National Rifle Association, the largest single contributor, contributing $599,500 to the Republicans and a lousy $500 to the Democrats.
Here is a graphic showing gun rights groups contributions since 1990:
Gun rights groups have spent a total of $37,358,535 since 1990 with $32,276,136 or 88 percent of the total going to Republicans and $4,422,869 or 12 percent of the total going to Democrats as you can see on this graphic:
Of the total, the National Rifle Association has contributed $22.272 million since 1989, the vast majority of the funds spent by gun rights groups as you can see on this table and graphs:
Now, let's look at the political contribution data for the gun control groups. Here is a graphic showing the total spent during the current cycle:
Not surprisingly, liberal groups have been the biggest beneficiaries of gun control contributions, however, it is a far cry from what has been spent by the gun rights side of the firearm equation.
Here is a graphic showing gun control groups contributions since 1990:
Gun rights groups have spent a total of $2,453,844 since 1990, just over 7 percent of what gun rights groups have contributed to their choice of candidates/political party over the same timeframe. Of the $2.45 million, $1,874,943 or 94 percent of the total has been donated to the Democrats and only $116,401 or 6 percent of the total has been donated to the Republicans.
Now, let's look at how the presidential candidates have benefitted from their pro- and anti-gun backers during the current election cycle:
The biggest Republican beneficiary has been Ted Cruz who gleaned $272,707 from the gun rights side of the debate followed by Rand Paul at $156,202 and Marco Rubio at $126,964. The last Republican candidate standing, Donald Trump, has only received $10,036 from gun rights groups, among the smallest in the entire group of presidential candidates. The biggest Democratic beneficiary has been Hillary Clinton who has received $34,913 from the gun control side of the debate; interestingly, her competitor, Bernie Sanders, has actually received $1,600 from the pro-gun side and not a penny from the anti-gun side.
Here is a table showing the top Congressional recipients of funds from gun rights groups between 1989 and 2016:
Here is a table showing the top Congressional recipients of funs from gun control groups between 1989 and 2016:
In all cases, the donations made by the gun control interests are a small fraction of what is and has been spent by the gun rights interests.
This data goes a long, long way to explaining why, despite the emotional response that occurs after a mass shooting, there is little motivation in Washington to change anything when it comes to gun ownership in the United States.