The country’s most prominent gun-rights organization was once again the top dog in outside election spending among gun groups.
Between its PAC and Super PAC, the National Rifle Association (NRA) reported roughly $13.7 million in outside spending on federal races during the 2022 midterms, according to FEC data. That’s nearly $2 million more than the three major gun-control groups spent combined.
The spending edge marks a return to form for the NRA as the election spending powerhouse on gun issues. Though it has long been the dominant force in outside spending during presidential years, the organization was outspent by gun-control groups for the first time ever in the 2018 midterms. That led many to speculate that gun-control interests had gained parity with the NRA. But 2022’s numbers show that gun-control groups still have work to do if they hope to unseat the NRA as the pace-setting election spender.
At the same time, the organization has less to show for its spending than in past elections. In what was supposed to be a “red wave” year, many candidates backed by the organization floundered, and Republicans failed flip control of the U.S. Senate while only narrowly taking control of the House. Such modest returns from the group’s spending suggest that gun-rights dollars carried less clout among the electorate this year than in previous years.
Overall, gun-rights spending outpaced gun-control spending in the midterm by about $6 million, according to data compiled by OpenSecrets. Other major gun-rights contributors beyond the NRA included the super PAC for the group Gun Owners of America (GOA), which spent roughly $2.5 million in the 2022 midterms, and the Secure Our Freedom Action Fund, a super PAC run by former NRA executives Chris Cox and David Lehman. It spent approximately $1.1 million on the midterms.
Among gun-control groups, the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund was the most significant election spender. The Michael Bloomberg-backed super PAC reported roughly $6.7 million in outside spending for the midterms. Giffords PAC was a close second in outside spending for the midterms, reporting just over $5 million during the 2022 cycle. Brady PAC was a distant third, reporting just under $88,000 in outside spending in support of just three different U.S. House candidates. There were no other significant sources of gun-control spending in the federal midterm races.
While the major gun control groups were outspent during election season, they were able to out-fundraise the NRA and other gun-rights groups leading up to the 2022 cycle. Gun-control group committees collectively raised around $35 million from 2021-2022, split between $18.3 million for Everytown, $13.2 million for Giffords, and $3.5 million for Brady. In contrast, gun-rights groups raised around $29 million during the same period, split amongst the $25 million raised by the NRA’s PAC and super PAC, GOA’s $2.6 million, and the $1.6 million raised by Secure Our Freedom Action Fund.