Gun control supporters are focusing on state ballot initiatives to push their agenda as their campaign on the national level has failed.
A November ballot measure in the state of Washington to require more broad background checks on buyers succeeded, prompting supporters to turn the battle to other states that allow ballot measures, reports The New York Times
"I can't recall ballot initiatives focused on gun policy," said Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Director Daniel Webster. "There wasn't the money."
But gun control groups' wallets are getting fatter, thanks to the backing of wealthy donors such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Notices are going out from anti-gun groups like the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC
, founded and led by former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, soliciting cash and ideas for standing their ground against Republican lawmakers.
An initiative to expand background checks has been qualified for Nevada's ballot in 2016. Advocates also are seeking initiatives for the ballots in Arizona, Oregon, and Maine.
The National Rifle Association has threatened to fight the shifting efforts, and has a multi-million dollar war chest to back its efforts.
"We will be wherever they are to challenge them,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.
President Barack Obama pushed for a background check measure after the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting, but the measure never made it out of the Democratic-controlled Senate. And while some states have passed gun control legislation, others have pulled back on restrictions.
Ballot-initiative programs cost between $5 million and $15 million to launch, and money is still pouring in as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and other advocacy groups evaluate which of the 17 states allowing ballot initiatives would be best to focus their efforts on.
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