March 5, 2013, 6:12 p.m.; Corrected March 6, 2013 9:13 a.m.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Giffords and Kelly testified in January at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence. After the former congresswoman was severely wounded at a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, she and her husband formed the group Americans for Responsible Solutions, which is among several groups airing TV ads to advocate legislative solutions to reduce gun violence.
The new ads unveiled Tuesday by the super PAC headed by ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly, are just the latest in a wave of gun-related advocacy and political spending.
More than a half-dozen groups on both sides of the debate over gun safety have run broadcast ads in major markets or posted TV-ready ads on their YouTube accounts since President Barack Obama called for tougher firearms measures in his State of the Union address in mid-February, according to a Sunlight Foundation analysis. Though overshadowed in recent weeks by budget fights, the gun issue appears to have lost little steam since the December mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
The groups range from Independence USA PAC , the super PAC launched by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that spent $2.5 million helping Democrat Robin Kelly win a House special-election primary in Illinois, to the National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund. Other groups running or posting ads include Mayors Against Illegal Guns, MoveOn.org, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and the grass-roots pro-Obama group Organizing for Action, Sunlight reported.
New players continue to pop up. A new political action committee dubbed Americans for the Protection of Children launched last month. The group’s website publishes the NRA’s purported “enemies list” and declares, “I am a proud enemy of the NRA.” Another group launched and run by concerned mothers, originally dubbed One Million Moms for Gun Control, last month renamed itself Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The progressive advocacy group Credo Action also has launched several gun-safety-related petition drives and generated more than 9,000 activist calls to senators to urge passage of legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazine clips. The Credo Super PAC joined with Progressive USA voters on a field campaign to back Robin Kelly in the Illinois primary race.
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.