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Sen. Rand Paul

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Republicans in Congress received all but $12,000 of the almost $984,000 in campaign contributions that the gun industry has donated to federal candidates so far this year.

Sen. Paul Rand (R-KY), who is seeking his third term, received the most, $38,458, according to Open Secrets, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics. He was followed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) with $38,380 and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) with $25,610.

Scalise has remained a gun-rights supporter even though he nearly bled to death in June 2017 when he was shot at a baseball practice.

“The ability of the industry to use money to advance its policy agenda has increased given the dramatic rise in firearm sales that we’ve seen over the past two or three years,” said Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University.

The Republican party’s support for gun rights led New York Times opinion writer Michelle Cottle to call it the “American Carnage Party.”

The National Rifle Association, the biggest contributor in the gun industry, gave $217,596 to candidates and parties and more than $5 million to other spending groups.

House Democrats are trying to pass bills that would raise the age to buy semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21 and bar large-capacity magazines. Republicans in the Senate are expected to try to block these bills.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has opposed eliminating the filibuster that allows Republicans to block gun safety legislation, is the only Democratic senator getting money from the gun industry. He has received $5,000 so far.

Researcher Dan Auble said Manchin’s donations were from board members of the Boone & Crockett Club, a wildlife conservation group, and Open Secrets is reviewing the classification of the contributions.

In the House, the gun industry gave $5,000 to Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) and $1,000 each to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR). Schrader, who was first elected in 2008, lost his recent primary to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an attorney and business owner.

The owners of Daniel Defense, which made the rifle used in the Uvalde killings, donated $26,100 to Republican federal candidates and a total of $20,700 to WinRed, the GOP fundraising platform, and the PAC for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. Company owners Marvin and Cindy Daniel contributed to the campaigns of Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) and Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who owns a firearms business.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has accused the NRA of using a network of shell companies to illegally coordinate spending millions with the Trump campaign and at least six other federal candidates including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)

The Federal Election Commission, which Trump stuffed with anti-regulation attorneys, has failed to investigate the allegations that the NRA has violated federal election laws—despite a court order to do so. In November, Giffords, a gun-safety organization, sued the NRA’s political victory fund and its lobbying arm and the campaigns of Hawley and Matt Rosendale, who lost a 2018 Senate campaign but was elected to the U.S. House in 2020.

“It is clear that the NRA will continue to violate the law until someone stops them,” said David Pucino, an attorney for Giffords.

Reprinted with permission from DC Report.

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