A financial report released by the Federal Election Commission shows that the anti-gun Super PAC started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut husband Mark Kelly raised $6.5 million in its first six months.
The group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, took in tens of thousands of dollars from small donations of under $200. The accounting shows that roughly $3.2 million came from such small donors. Just over $1 million came from donors of $1,000 and under.
“We’re really excited about what this means for us going forward,” executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions, Pia Carusone, said to reporters. “It’s clear that Americans have found a middle ground, and our hope is that Congress will listen to them instead of the gun lobby.”
Carusone also told USA Today that the advocacy arm of the organization raised even more than the PAC, but declined to put a number to the claim.
Giffords, who was shot and severely disabled by a mentally disturbed Jared Lee Loughner in 2011, started the Super PAC to oppose the National Rifle Association.
At the time, Giffords said in an editorial in USA Today that, “Until now, the gun lobby’s political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups.” Giffords then promised to change that with her Super PAC.
Since then, the pair have crisscrossed the country pushing an anti-gun message. Over the recent July Fourth weekend, for instance, Giffords and Kelly visited Cincinnati, Ohio to promote anti-Second Amendment policies.
In June the pair ramped up the pressure on pro-Second Amendment Democrats in Alaska, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Ohio.
In March, Kelly purchased an AR-15, the rifle many mistakenly call an “assault rifle.” Kelly claimed he made the purchase as an “illustration” of the need for gun bans. Not long after the initial attempt, Kelly was denied the purchase by Douglas MacKinlay of Diamondback Police Supply.
Of his decision to deny the purchase, MacKinlay released a statement that said: “While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible way, his recent statements to the media make it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer 5.56mm rifle was for reasons other than his own personal use.”