The Politicians That Receive the Most Money to Shoot Down New Gun Control Laws

If the United States is known for anything, it’s known for apple pies, baseball, and muscle cars. Add mass shootings to the shortlist. The cycle is all too common: Multiple people die in a mass shooting, we react in disparate ways, and there are brief discussions about gun control and gun laws, but nothing changes and the cycle repeats. Elected officials can implement tougher gun control laws, but they won’t make the changes. The politicians that receive the most money for gun laws seem pleased with the way things are.

The National Rifle Association’s political influence is deep and widespread, and it wants to keep the gun-buying loopholes open. The group pays handsomely to make sure gun laws are loose, and these are the politicians that receive the most money from pro-gun groups like the NRA.

10. Greg Gianforte

Greg Gianforte

In a short time in office, Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MO) is one of the politicians that receive the most money for gun laws. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Representative, R-Montana
  • NRA contributions: $344,630

Gianforte is independently wealthy and will benefit from the Trump tax plan, so he probably doesn’t need campaign contributions. Yet that hasn’t stopped the NRA from giving him close to $350,000 since he started serving in 2017, according to the New York Times. It’s wasted money, too. Gianforte describes himself as an avid outdoorsman and hunter, so chances are he’s not going to vote against gun safety laws anytime in the future.

Next: This is the NRA’s kind of guy.

9. Mike Simpson

Mike Simpson (third from left) is outspoken on gun rights. | Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • Political office: U.S. Representative, R-Idaho
  • NRA contributions: $385,731

Simpson is a 10-time member of Congress, so the $385,000 from the NRA has come over time. But one has to wonder, why is the NRA giving him anything at all?

Simpson’s online biography clearly states his position on gun control: “I will not support any legislation that requires a waiting period for the purchase of a firearm, bans the ownership of firearms, or promotes or requires the rationing or taxation of firearms or ammunition.” We could go on, but that statement tells you all you need to know.

Next: Lots of pro-gun money in a short period of time.

8. David Young

David Young (right) has gotten a lot of money from the NRA. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Representative, R-Iowa
  • NRA contributions: $707,622

The NRA contributes greatly to Young’s campaign coffers. He’s served since 2014, and in that short time, he’s received more than $700,000 from the NRA in direct and indirect contributions, according to Fortune. If that doesn’t qualify Young as one of the politicians that receive the most money from pro-gun groups, we don’t know what does.

Next: Another relative newcomer with NRA money.

7. Ken Buck

Ken Buck is a favorite politician of the gun industry. | Chris Schneider/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Representative, R-Colorado
  • NRA contributions: $800,544

It hasn’t taken Ken Buck long to rack up a big amount of pro-gun contributions. Sure, he returned $2,000 worth of donations from the NRA, but pro-gun causes have donated more than $800,000 to him during his tenure, which started in 2015. All that despite the fact (or because of the fact) gun control laws are not one of the main issues on Buck’s radar.

Next: We’re talking millions of dollars from here on out.

6. French Hill

French Hill has received more money from the NRA than any other U.S. Representative. | Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

  • Political office: U.S. Representative, R-Arkansas
  • NRA contributions: $1.09 million

It hasn’t taken Hill long to rake in plenty of gun rights contributions. The Washington Post reports Hill has received $3,000 directly from the NRA since taking office in 2015. However, that figure balloons to more than $1 million when you factor in money the NRA spends indirectly on Hill’s behalf plus the direct contribution of $3,000.

Next: A hated senator who is swimming in pro-gun money.

5. Cory Gardner

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) speaks during the first day of Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court confirmation

Sen. Cory Gardner has taken nearly $4 million from pro-gun groups during his career. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Senator, R-Colorado
  • NRA contributions: $3.88 million

Cory Gardner is one of the most hated senators, but the NRA loves him. His strong stance on second amendment rights surely has plenty to do with the NRA giving him close to $4 million over the years.  

Next: A senator who knows how many gun-owners feel.

4. Thom Tillis

Senator Thom Tillis supports his gun-owning constituents. | Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Senator, R-North Carolina
  • NRA contributions: $4.42 million

Gun owners don’t want the government taking away their guns. Thom Tillis knows how they feel. One of his key issues is protecting the second amendment and keeping it the way it is. The NRA’s influence in politics is clear, judging from the $4.42 million it’s given Tillis during his political career.

Next: Protecting your gun rights since 2011.

3. Roy Blunt

Senator Roy Blunt votes in lock-step with the NRA. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Senator, R-Missouri
  • Pro-gun contributions: $4.55 million

Roy Blunt has protected gun owners’ rights ever since taking office in 2011. He is one of the politicians who is killing gun control legislation. Just look at his voting record. Blunt has voted ‘No’ on limiting magazine sizes, gun checks, and prohibiting selling assault rifles in the past. It’s no wonder the NRA has contributed millions of dollars to Blunt’s cause.

Next: Another stop in a state we visited recently before we hit No. 1.

2. Richard Burr

Senator Richard Burr has received a fortune from the NRA. | Alex Wong/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Senator, R-North Carolina
  • NRA contributions: $6.99 million

The second amendment isn’t an issue you’ll find on Richard Burr’s website. His voting history and the amount he’s taken from the NRA do all the talking. Burr continually votes to protect gun rights, including voting against a 2015 amendment aimed at preventing terrorists from getting guns and explosives. The nearly $7 million donated from the NRA during Burr’s tenure is doing its job.

Next: A name you should know well.

1. John McCain

John McCain speaks in philadelphia at a glass podium

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) receives plenty of money from pro-gun groups. | William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

  • Political office: U.S. Senator, R-Arizona
  • NRA contributions: $7.74 million

McCain is one the longest-serving senators (since 1987) after two terms as a congressman. The point is, he’s had plenty of time to rack up big contributions from the NRA, to the tune of more than $7 million.

He’s supported second amendment rights for years, even voting against legislation for background checks in 2016. His voting record is pro-gun at almost every turn, which is one reason the NRA is so willing to contribute to his campaign. McCain’s political career is almost over, but he goes down as the politicians receiving the most money for protecting gun laws.

Next: These are the worst eight cities in America for gun violence.

8. Denver


The increase is striking. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 693,060
  • Murder rate, 2016: 8.3 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 81

Many cities of a similar size have more murders, but in 2017 Denver has seen its murder per capita number increase by 2.9 to 11.2, one of the larger increases in the country. The city is already more than 20 murders above its 2016 total of 58. The number of estimated gun-related homicides (56.7) in 2017 is nearly equal to the total number of murders in 2016.

Next: A Southern river city

7. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville manhole cover

Louisville has more murders than cities of similar size. | benkrut/iStock/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 616,261
  • Murder rate, 2016: 17.2 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 141

Louisville is already nearly 25 homicides above its 2016 total. The 141 murders so far in 2017 are more than several other cities (such as Boston, El Paso, and Portland) of a similar size. An increase of 3.3 murders per capita, up to 20.5, is one of the largest increases in big cities in the United States. Using the stat of 70% of all homicides being gun related, that’s close to 99 deaths by gun-related violence.

Next: Moving down to Music City

6. Nashville, Tennessee

downtown Nashville, Tennessee

The city has seen a 31% increase in murders. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 660,388
  • Murder rate, 2016: 12.6 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 109

Four suburban Nashville towns are among the best places to live in 2017, but the city itself has seen murders increase by more than 31% from 2016. From 83 a year prior to 109 in 2017, Nashville has seen its per-capita murder rate climb to 16.4 with three more months left in the year. If national trends hold true in Nashville, that’s more than 76 gun-related homicides so far in 2017.

Next: The Buckeye State’s capital makes the list.

5. Columbus, Ohio

The Scioto River reflects Columbus, Ohio

Its murder increase is one of the largest in the nation. | David Rigg/iStock/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 860,090
  • Murder rate, 2016: 9.5 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 118

Columbus has a lot going for it, including a solid job market and affordable real estate. The rate of homicides is another story. Already in 2017, Columbus is close to 50% above the 82 homicides it tallied all of 2016. If 70% of those murders are due to firearms, that’s close to 83 gun-related deaths in 2017. The murders per capita are up to 13.4, a jump of 3.9 that is one of the largest in the nation.

Next: The one city you probably expected to see

4. Chicago


Though the numbers are slightly down, that’s not saying much. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 2,704,958
  • Murder rate, 2016: 28.8 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 764

The number of murders so far in 2017 is actually less than the 781 Chicago tallied in 2016. Murders per capita are also down, but those are small victories. Chicago looks poised to once again tally the highest number of murders of any city in the country this year. If 70% of Chicago’s homicides are from guns, that’s more than 534 gun-related deaths for the year.

Next: Tragedy puts Las Vegas on the list.

3. Las Vegas

Las Vegas sign

The mass shooting bumped it up on the list. | Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 632,912
  • Murder rate, 2016: 10.6 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 201

The events that took place in Las Vegas pushed 2017’s number of murders well higher than the 168 from 2016. The tragedy also sent the murders per capita soaring. Assuming 70% of all murders were from guns, that’s around 141 deaths by gun violence this year alone.

Next: Not the notoriety this city wants

2. Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Homicides have doubled. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 842,051
  • Murder rate, 2016: 7.5 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 145

The number of homicides in Charlotte has already doubled from 2016, when the city counted 68 homicides. The potential number of gun-related deaths (101) from 2017 far exceeds the 2016 murder total on its own. The number of murders per capita is up to 15.7, but as we are about to find out that’s not close to being the worst of it.

Next: The worst city for gun violence

1. Baltimore


Homicides are extremely high for the city’s size. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Population, 2016: 614,664
  • Murder rate, 2016: 51.3 per 100,000
  • Murders to date, 2017: 375

The number of homicides in Baltimore is staggering for a city of its size. There were 318 murders in 2016, but Baltimore has already raced past that figure. That might not be the worst of it. The murders per capita in 2016 were already frighteningly high at 51.3, but that figure is up to 60.6 per 100,000 for 2017. If we use the national average of 70% of homicides being gun related, that’s 262 gun deaths in a city of a little more than 600,000. To put that number in perspective, that’s close to half the assumed number of gun deaths in Chicago — but in a city only a quarter as populous.

Census population data and a preliminary analysis of 2017 crime statistics by the Brennan Center for Justice were used to determine the eight worst cities in America for gun violence.

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