gun debate

New NRA, Bloomberg PAC spending on Congress races hints gun debate far from over

by Joseph Weber,  |  published on February 27, 2013

The Washington gun-control debate in which President Obama and fellow Democrats are trying to promptly tighten firearms laws is emerging as a longer effort with both sides spending millions on congressional candidates who will help or hurt their cause.

The National Rifle Association spending on new ads this week was no surprise, considering the powerful and well-funded gun lobby spent roughly $18 million through its political arms in the last election cycle. And the group remains committed to protecting gun makers and the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

However, the emergence of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his super PAC spending roughly $2 million this year on a special House race in Illinois suggests both sides are looking to bolster their positions in Congress through the 2014 races and perhaps beyond.

Bloomberg, a vocal advocate of strict gun control, through his super PAC Independence USA, paid for TV ads and mailers attacking two Illinois Democrats — former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson — who were running for Jessie Jackson Jr.’s open seat and have had high NRA ratings. The primary is Tuesday and considered too close to call.

Halvorson doesn’t support a ban and has accused Bloomberg of trying to “buy an election.”
Hutchinson, the early leader, has quit the race and put her support behind fellow Democrat and former state Rep. Robin Kelly, who like President Obama and other Washington Democrats supports an assault-weapons ban.

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