A major Democratic donor launched a new campaign and corresponding website on Wednesday to target gun violence and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Venture capitalist Kenneth Lerer’s website, StopTheNRA.com, features videos, news articles, and images of gun violence in America. It also offers people a platform to join a lobbying campaign to push for reform.
“The point of StopTheNRA is to post and create viral content and put it all in one place to bring ongoing attention to the outrageous positions of the NRA and to continue to bring pressure on the issues,” Lerer told the Washington Post.
A video at the top of the website chronicles the recent history of gun violence in the country with statistics and footage from the shootings at Columbine High School (1999), Virgina Tech (2007), Tucson, Ariz. (2011), and at Sandy Hook Elementary School and in Aurora, Colo., last year.
The Senate failed to pass a compromised background check bill in April despite a massive public relations and political campaign by the Obama administration. The gun control debate was re-energized and the NRA was brought to the forefront of national news since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, 2012.
Lerer was one of several top donors who vocally withheld contributions to Democrats who voted against gun control.
The NRA broke its silence a week after the tragedy in Newtown when Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president, said the media’s celebration of violence and glorification of the killers “act as silent enablers.” He spoke at length about the need for firearms in schools, blaming everything from Hollywood and video games, to music videos in order to explain the school shooting.
Polling in March revealed that Americans overwhelmingly support universal background checks for gun sales. According to the Quinnipiac University poll, 88% of Americans nationwide support the measure while only 10% oppose it. Support dropped negligibly when among gun owners, who support universal checks 85% to 13%.
The group led by former Rep. Gabby Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman who was shot and injured in Tucson two years ago, aired radio advertisements in April and May that held Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Mitch McConnell accountable for voting against the failed gun control legislation.
Following December’s school massacre, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several House Democrats called on President Obama to enact stricter gun control laws. Shortly after, Bloomberg announced the “demand a plan” to end gun violence campaign, and Bloomberg-backed gun control advertisements began airing in March.
Last month Bloomberg said he would not back down on gun control despite an anonymous person sending him a ricin-laced letter.
Several legislators—including New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Colorado Sen. Angela Giron, and Wyoming Sen. Leland Christensen—were threatened earlier this year by Americans who oppose gun restrictions.