The NRA for years has successfully blocked gun control measures by rating lawmakers' votes on gun rights legislation and then following up with targeted campaign spending to help their allies and defeat their enemies on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country.
The group headed by executive vice president Wayne LaPierre has Congress so buffaloed that even a watered-down bipartisan plan to expand background checks on firearm sales and ban some military-style semi-automatic weapons went down to defeat in the Senate in April 2013. That defeat was preceded by a public outcry for common-sense gun control in the wake of the Newtown, CT massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adult staff members the previous December.
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Now a group recently founded by the billionaire former mayor called "Everytown for Gun Safety" has announced plans to canvass every House and Senate member and congressional candidate for their views on ways to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding people. Those results combined with an analysis of past voting records will be used as a guide to targeting massive amounts of campaign spending and grass roots organizing this fall.
"People deserve to know where candidates stand on reasonable gun measures," John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown and a long-time adviser to Bloomberg, said on Monday in a tweet. He added in an interview with The Washington Post, "For too long, the gun lobbyists had the field to themselves."
The group's so-called "2014 Gun Sense Voter Federal Candidate Questionnaire" which was posted online today notes that 86 Americans die by gunfire every day and that "We are working to support candidates who will vote for common sense laws to reduce gun violence."
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The questionnaire is designed to probe politicians' views on 10 key questions regarding, among other things, background checks for most gun sales, keeping guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and other convicts, expanding the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, the sale of high-capacity bullet magazines and toughening laws for carrying concealed weapons.