If you think your state is not next on the chopping block… think again.
Gun safety advocates are pouring tens of millions of dollars into Maine and Nevada to support ballot initiatives that would mandate background checks for gun sales in an effort to clinch state-level victories after years of failed drives in Congress.
The avalanche of money spent on supporting such initiatives ahead of the Nov. 8 vote could hand gun control organizations their biggest win since they failed to secure the passage of federal legislation after the massacre of 26 children and educators at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school in December 2012.
Voters in California and Washington state will also cast ballots on gun control initiatives, and opinion polls show the measures are likely to pass in all four states.
Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group founded by billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been leading the charge, throwing its financial weight behind three of the four measures. The organization plans to spend $25 million nationwide on the issue, almost as much as the powerful National Rifle Association has spent on television advertising for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The right to own firearms is protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and any efforts to restrict that guarantee are fought vehemently by gun rights advocates, who are highly influential within the Republican Party.
Victories by gun control groups in Maine and Nevada would mean that half of the U.S. population would live in states with expanded background checks, including private sales not involving a licensed dealer.
Gun control supporters say that would be a symbolic and strategically important threshold.
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