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ISSUES THAT MATTER

GUN CONTROL

While the pandemic has transformed and curbed the fundraising scene dramatically, the Brady PAC, a sister organization of the Brady gun control advocacy group, has actually seen an increase in fundraising and interest. Brian Lemek, executive director of Brady PAC, told CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro Brady PAC has raised $1 million so far in the year, and based off the activity in the past two months, has doubled its election cycle fundraising goal to $5 million. 

Lemek said there are two factors mainly spurring grassroots support: the images of some state capitol protesters bringing their assault-style weapons, and the type of “panic purchasing” of firearms in states where gun shops have been deemed “essential.” 

To the Brady PAC, the “panic purchasing” at gun shops highlights the issue of improper use and storage of weapons in the home. “They’re introducing this element to their home and because they’re new gun owners and because perhaps they aren’t able to go to the range for practice or get more familiar with the weapon, it’s being mishandled and it could be used to harm those in their homes,” he said. 

Like many groups and campaigns, Lemek said at the onset of the pandemic, the group was preparing to “batten down the hatches” in anticipation of a downturn in fundraising. 

“We never for a moment, thought that that COVID would tie back to guns. But the collective movement is outraged… it’s brought this attention we never imagined that we would have, with it being a virus, to the issue. And the grassroots network has been incredibly responsive,” he said. 

With its funds, the group is looking to help boost both incumbents and candidates.  On Tuesday it  endorsed one House Democrat challenger, 11 House Democrat incumbent “Frontliners” and two Senate candidates: Barbara Bollier in Kansas and Theresa Greenfield in Iowa. 

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