About

This is a visualization of Congress’ funding on gun issues. The data is from the Center for Responsive Politics. The code is open source. Lachlan Campbell made it.

Background

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).

$40,162,843
total gun rights
$8,308,934
total gun control
1998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019$0m$2.5m$5m$7.5m$10m
  • Control
  • Rights
  • Manufacturing

The data

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.

Sources

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

D
Mark R. Warner

Sen. Mark R. Warner

VA, current term 20152021
$5,500
gun rights direct
$0
rights support
$0
control opposition
$11,737
gun control direct
$41,000
control support
$204,731
rights opposition
#519531
rank in Congress
  • 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)

Highlights

Highest gun rights

R
Mitt Romney

Sen. Mitt Romney

UT, current term 20192025
$3,283,524
gun rights funding
#1531
gun-funded in Congress

Highest Democrat

D
Collin C. Peterson

Rep. Collin C. Peterson

MN-07, current term 20192021
$138,367
gun rights funding
#49531
gun-funded in Congress

The site

This project debuted at the NYU ITP/IMA Winter Show 2019. It runs on React, Next.js, and Theme UI, hosted on Now. The code is entirely open source.

& me

Lachlan Campbell

Hi, I’m Lachlan Campbell! I’m a web designer-developer & first-year student in Interactive Media Arts at NYU.