The issue of gun control has been increasingly more prevalent over the past few elections. In 2020, a leading gun control group is placing Pennsylvania as one of their top priorities.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the Michael Bloomberg backed organization that works to “end gun violence and build safer communities,” has selected Pennsylvania as one of its 13 top priority states in the 2020 election.
“Pennsylvania is a critical presidential battleground and ground zero in the fight for gun safety — that’s why Everytown and our hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters with Moms Demand Action are making the Keystone State a top priority in 2020,” said Andrew Zucker, Director of Federal and Political Communications for Everytown for Gun Safety. “Across party lines, Pennsylvanians are fed up with lawmaker inaction on gun safety. With significant financial investments and boots on the ground, we’ll work tirelessly to elect gun sense candidates up and down the ballot.”
The group is planning on spending at least $60 million for its 2020 program of priority states, which is nearly double what the National Rifle Association spent in 2016, according to The Hill. The 2020 investment is also a significant increase from the $30 million spent nationwide in the 2018 midterms.
The NRA said in a statement to PoliticsPA that the amount being spent from Everytown for Gun Safety won’t sway voters to support its policies.
“Mike Bloomberg thought he could buy the presidency. He failed,” said Amy Hunter, NRA Director of Media Relations. “Now his group Everytown, is using the same failed logic. The American people see through it. Our strength has always been in the passion of our supporters — our 5 million members and millions more law-abiding gun owners — who always answer when called upon. Because when it comes to campaign politics – votes matter more than money.”
While Everytown for Gun Safety hasn’t made public how much it plans to specifically spend in Pennsylvania, the group believes it can have an impact up and down the ballot in the keystone state. In a memo announcing its priority states, they include a Quinnipiac University poll from May 2019 showing that 61% in the U.S. polled support “stricter gun laws,” while 34% opposed it.
The group’s 2020 goals include defeating President Donald Trump, flipping control of key U.S. Senate seats, defending the “gun sense” majority in the U.S. House, engaging at the state level, and hopes of replicating their 2019 effort in Virginia where the state House and Senate flipped away from GOP control.
Although the 2020 effort is in its early stages for the group, Everytown has already made a significant ad buy in Pennsylvania. In February, the group launched a $250,000 digital campaign pressuring state lawmakers to act on gun safety. The digital campaign, which is currently paused, was the first since Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fun and Victory Fund spent $2.5 million to flip Viriginia’s General Assembly to what the group describes a “gun sense” majority in November 2019.
Everytown has yet to release a list of endorsed candidates in the state, but specifically referenced Attorney General Josh Shapiro as an “ally” in its 2020 memo.
While the group has largely supported Democrats over the past few elections in Pennsylvania, they have notably endorsed Republicans Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in 2016 and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) in 2018.