May 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Gun rights supporters outspent gun control advocates 5 to 1 last year

Money spent on <span style="background: #FF7901; padding: 5px; color: white;">gun rights</span> and <span style="background: #007831; padding: 5px; color: white;">gun control</span> lobbying
Data: OpenSecrets; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Financial contributions in support of gun rights have skyrocketed since 2012 despite the alarming number of mass shootings in the U.S.

By the numbers: Following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that resulted in the deaths of 26 people, including 20 children, there was a steady climb in the amount of money spent in support of gun rights, reaching $15.2 million in 2013. In 2021, that peak increased by around $600,000, according to Open Secrets, an organization that tracks money in U.S. politics.

  • Money in support of gun control is meager in comparison: It saw an increase in 2012, from $250,00 to approximately $2.2 million in 2013 and has remained steady at over $2 million, topping out at $2.9 million in 2021.

The big picture: "[D]espite highly publicized mass shootings, no gun control measures ... have made it into law," per OpenSecrets.

  • Democrats lack the necessary amount of votes to pass gun control legislation and Republicans do not support gun control bills. Republicans also receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct campaign contributions from gun rights supporters.

Zoom in: Among Republicans, 58% of conservatives say that current gun laws "are about right," 30% say they should be less strict, and only 12% say they should be stricter, according to a 2021 survey from the Pew Research Center.

Go deeper: Failed gun legislation is the norm after mass shootings

Go deeper