By Justin Sink
A new political action committee led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) hopes to match the National Rifle Association (NRA) by raising some $20 million ahead of the 2014 elections, the group's treasurer said Wednesday.
"We are going to provide support and backing for candidates in U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate races that are attacked by the NRA for taking moderate positions on common-sense gun-safety issues," said Steve Mostyn, the Houston trial lawyer tabbed by Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, to handle the group's finances, in an interview with Reuters. "We will also field candidates."
Mostyn says that in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting that left 26 dead, including 20 children, the committee has seen encouraging fundraising results. The group raised $400,000 in small donations on the day it launched, Jan. 8, which also marked the second anniversary of the assassination attempt on Giffords's life that left her gravely injured and six dead. Mostyn and his wife donated an additional million dollars.
The group hopes to hit its $16-20 million fundraising goal ahead of the congressional primary cycle next year.
In an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today introducing the group, Giffords and Kelly say that while they are gun owners and support the Second Amendment, they believe laws should "require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence."
"Until now, the gun lobby's political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups. No longer," the pair wrote. "With Americans for Responsible Solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby."