It has been twenty months since the Sandy Hook shooting, and activists on both sides of the debate continue to fight to shape the country’s politics. Gun violence prevention advocates have made progress thanks to new groups, more funding, and new, collaborative strategies. In order to successfully beat the National Rifle Association at its own game, they are working to build a passionate grassroots support base.
“There has never been a point in history . . . where this movement’s been more unified,” said Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
This year, six states passed laws to help keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. Everytown for Gun Safety helped draft Minnesota’s bill.
Campaign spending for 2014 is about equal thus far—as of June 30, according to the filings with the Federal Election Commission, the NRA PAC had just over $18 million in receipts, and had spent $2.5 milllion. Americans for Responsible Solutions, started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, had almost $17.5 million, and had spent almost $8.5 million.
Many are looking to the next major election—the first since Sandy Hook—to indicate what the future of guns in the United States will be.
The one area of potential common ground between gun rights groups and gun violence prevention advocates seems to be mental health. The NRA has supported mental health legislation in the past, including the 2007 law meant to improve state reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The Brady Campaign also backed the bill.