Several factors led to Democratic gains in last week’s elections, especially in the House of Representatives. Some gun-violence prevention organizations are also claiming that their efforts helped pave the way to many of those wins.
Giffords PAC, for instance, a political action committee formed by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (who herself was a victim of a mass shooting event in her home district several years ago), cited its own successes in suggesting Americans want stricter rules for gun sales and ownership. Ninety-five of the candidates endorsed by the organization won office last Tuesday.
Everytown for Gun Safety, another gun control organization, similarly said that they saw good outcomes for most of the candidates they endorsed. More than four-in-five of their endorsements won their contests last week, according to reporting from National Public Radio.
The National Rifle Association, meanwhile, disputed the idea that those organizations’ calls for stricter gun limitations had any impact on the outcomes of last week’s races. The organization said that “gun control was not a decisive factor on election,” and further suggested that there wasn’t a “blue wave” at all in the election, despite the fact that Democrats are poised to flip between 32 and 38 seats in the House.
The NRA did have some successes of its own that it can point to. In Indiana, for instance, Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly lost a re-election bid, in no small part due to spending from the pro-gun organization, which put $1 million in the race. Another Democrat that lost her Senate re-election race, Claire McCaskill, was also an outcome the NRA invested heavily into, pouring almost $1.4 million into efforts either in support of her opponent or in opposition to her, according to reporting from Bloomberg.
Still, looking at the overall results of Tuesday’s outcomes demonstrates that Americans are clamoring for stronger gun legislation. Exit polling data, based on reporting from NBC News, showcased that a clear majority of Americans on Election Day said they wanted stricter gun laws, with 60 percent saying so. Just 36 percent said that they opposed efforts at creating more restrictions on gun ownership and purchases.
Whether or not gun control policy gets passed or enacted under the next Congress, however, is up for debate. With split control of Congress (a Democratic House and a Republican Senate) and the veto power of the president to consider, substantially stricter gun laws likely won’t be coming anytime soon.