NRA PAC Fundraising Surges After Dem Candidates Back Gun Confiscation

Gun rights group raised $1.3 million in September

President Donald Trump at the National Rifle Association annual meeting / Getty Images

Donations to the NRA's political action committee rose again last month, FEC filings show, after several 2020 Democrats advocated for the confiscation of certain guns.

The NRA's PAC raked in $1.3 million in total contributions throughout September, an increase of nearly $400,000 from its previous month, with an overwhelming majority of its cash haul coming from small donors. Of the $1.3 million, $981,277 was sent from individuals contributing less than $200. September was the fourth month in 2019 that the PAC has collected at least $1 million; it currently has $10 million on hand.

The spike in funding came as Democrats running for president have increasingly moved toward support for new gun bans, and even confiscation. Beto O'Rourke, slipping in the polls, promised, "hell yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," during September's primary debate. Senators Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) have both indicated support for O'Rourke's plan.

The remarks likely drove donations to the gun-rights group, which has strongly condemned O'Rourke and his confiscation plan.

"Gun control advocates have made themselves clear," the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action said in a post on O'Rourke's comments. "Their efforts are not about ‘background checks,' or keeping guns away from ‘dangerous' individuals, or any other so-called ‘commonsense gun safety' measures. They are not operating in good faith. The gun-control movement is about civilian disarmament through firearms confiscation. Beto simply let their cat out of the bag."

FEC documents show the NRA PAC brought in $50,902.20 from itemized donors before Beto's comments on September 12—about $4,627 per day. After them, the group brought in $276,208.20—about $15,344 per day. That represents a threefold increase in daily giving to the gun-rights group.

While the NRA's contributions have increased steadily over the past few months, some gun-control PACs saw a significant decrease in their fundraising.

The Giffords PAC, which works to elect gun-control proponents, reported just $11,000 in contributions in September, a major drop from the $195,000 it reported in August. Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, an independent-expenditures only PAC, does not have to submit its next report until the end of the year. However, its mid-year report showed that the committee was given just $5,000, which was transferred from the group's action fund. The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, Inc. PAC has taken in just $18,000 this year from six donors and currently has less than $90,000 cash on hand.

Everytown, however, operates primarily through nonprofits. The PAC is a smaller component of their overall operations but requires much more frequent reporting of its fundraising figures.

The more than $10 million in the bank the NRA PAC ended September with is more than three times that of Beto O'Rourke, and even outpaces Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.