Gun violence is a growing epidemic across the U.S., and Americans by-and-large support moderate gun control, yet Congress refuses to pass it as legislation. Why the discrepancy?
One answer comes in that the gun lobby directly funds our representatives: the current members of Congress have accepted $40M from gun rights groups and about $8M from gun control groups (about 2/3 of the latter coming since 2016, half just this year).
Every member of Congress is required to file their funders with the federal government (FEC). However, though the data is technically public, it’s inaccessible—so Gun Funded tries to make it easy to visualize & understand.
A note on objectivity
The site attempts to authentically and neutrally present its data, but objectivity doesn’t really exist. The entire premise of the website—that this specific data is worth looking at—is a political statement in itself.
I made this site because I think it’s most important that regardless of where people stand on gun issues, everyone should know about our representatives’ funding, on both sides of the issue.
The funding data all comes from the Center for Responsive Politics. The site does not update live, only because the data only meaningfully changes with each election every two years.
The basic information about each member (including social media) comes from theunitedstates.io.
Deconstructing a profile
The first row is money in support of a candidate on gun rights (“rights” = against placing restrictions on firearms, typically more Republican)
The second row is in support of gun control (“control” = supports placing restrictions on firearms, typically more Democratic)
The first column is direct contributions: groups like the NRA & Everytown directly giving money to a candidate
The second two columns are independent expenditure: those groups running ads to support/oppose candidates, funneling money through other organizations
Total: the total money given to the member’s campaign or leadership PAC from gun rights or gun control PACs or individuals in all of CRP’s data (back to 1989 for members for whom that is relevant).
Support/oppose: numbers are money spent by outside groups supporting and opposing these candidates. Gun rights support, for example, shows money spent by gun rights groups on independent expenditures supporting this candidate.
Net funding (internal) is gun rights funding (gun rights total, gun rights support, gun control opposition) minus gun control funding (gun control total, gun control support, gun rights opposition)
Ranking uses the net funding amount—from most gun rights to most gun control, with those with zero funding in the middle. (If it was ranked without gun control, there would be 238 people with no gun rights funding who can’t really be ranked)