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Gun Fight: Firearms, money & politics

Gun Fight money and politics


That's how much gun control and gun rights groups collectively contributed to federal politicians in 2018.

Judging by the numbers exclusively, it's a topic that generates a lot of strong opinions.

Government watchdog Opensecrets tallies gun control groups, like Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords PAC, as contributing $5,486,237 to federal candidates and parties in 2018. Conversely: gun rights groups, like the NRA and Gun Owners of America, contributed a bit less at $4,599,852 in 2018.

So, how did Colorado politicians profit in 2018?

  • Rep. Jason Crow (D) of the 6th Congressional District, got $36,982.
  • Rep. Joseph Neguse (D) of the 2nd Congressional District, got $2,000.
  • Rep. Perlmutter (D) of the 7th Congressional District, got $6,800.
  • Rep. Diana Degette (D) of the 1st Congressional District, got $6,250.
  • Sen. Michael Bennet (D), got $18,671.

All received money from gun control groups.

Colorado Republicans received money from gun rights groups in 2018, according to Opensecrets. But they got more money than Democrats did.

  • Former Rep. Mike Coffman (R) of the 6th Congressional District, got $28,085.
  • Rep. Scott Tipton (R) of the 3rd Congressional District, got $13,476.
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) of the 5th Congressional District, got $3,500.
  • Rep. Ken Buck (R) of the 4th Congressional District, got $3,000.
  • Senator Cory Gardner (R) got $63,000.

In sum, Colorado Democrats received $77,503; Colorado Republicans received $111,061 in 2018.

But, does the money affect how politicians vote? According to UCCS Political Science Professor, Josh Dunn, the answer is no.

"Interest groups give to office-holders who already agree with them," said Dunn. "There's very little evidence to indicate they're buying votes. It's not really shaping legislative behavior."

Rewind back to February 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8, requiring background checks for all firearms sales and most transfers, including those at gun shows.

It passed the House 240 to 190, largely on party lines.

Colorado Representatives voted how you might think: all our state's Congressional Republicans voted against it; Colorado's Congressional Democrats voted for it.

Upon closer inspection, however, of the eight Republicans nationally who voted in favor of H.R. 8, three Republican Representatives were from Florida: Vern Buchanan, Brian Mast, and Mario Dias-Balart. All three received money from the NRA (Buchanan, $4,950 in 2016; Mast $1,000 in 2018; Dias-Balart $2,000 and $3,000 in 2016 and 2018, respectively).

No doubt, all three Florida Representatives were influenced by the shootings at the Pulse Nightclub and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"If there's a position that's going to put you deeply at odds with your constituents, very often what you'll see the representatives and senators do is vote with their constituents rather than with an interest group -- even if that interest group has given them money," said Dunn.

Colorado Springs / Local News / News / News Radio / Politics / State & Regional News

Heather Skold

Heather is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Heather here.



  1. I came here to say exactly what little peaks just said. So now I just have to say that giving money to a politician is how our system is set up. So much so that the Supreme Court has ruled giving money true politician is speech is protected under the first amendment.

  2. I think KRDO should take the high road and voluntarily decide not to run any political ads in the upcoming election season. forfeiting all of that money is the only way that KRDO can show us that they are truly above the fray and not for sale to the highest bidder…

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