Parents of Parkland students start PAC to take on NRA-backed candidates

Parents of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have joined forces to create a super PAC with the goal of defeating politicians who have the support and backing of the National Rifle Association.

The group is made up of parents who lost their children in the deadly shooting at the school on February 14 and those who saw their children come home but are upset that this happened in their school, as well as community members from Parkland who may not necessarily be linked to Stoneman Douglas but are concerned about what happened there.

According to the organizers of the Families vs. Assault Rifles PAC, the goal behind putting up money against candidates who receive funding from the NRA is to elect candidates to Congress who endorse a bill to ban assault weapons.

“The ultimate goal is to amend the National Firearms Act of 1934 by adding just a paragraph or two or whatever it takes to ban assault weapons and also ban the more dangerous accessories of assault weapons, such as high capacity magazines and bump stocks,” said Jeff Kasky, the father of two Parkland students who survived the massacre and who is part of the group behind the PAC. “But we know to get to that very simple goal, we have to take the NRA out of our politics.”

“Most Americans agree that there needs to be some common-sense gun reform. Why don’t we have it?” Kasky said. “The party in power is being controlled by the NRA.”

The PAC was registered earlier this month, and without yet engaging in a publicity effort, Kasky said, it is already receiving thousands of inquiries from people who want to chip in or help the cause.

Matt Gohd, the political director of the PAC, told CNN the plan is allocate the money raised to targeted federal races that are competitive and where there are candidates who are not willing to forgo NRA support or will not support the amendment to the National Firearms Act that the group is proposing.

“We’re not about confronting the Second Amendment; we’re not taking away your handgun or rifle or shotgun. We’re just looking to take out and restrict the ownership of the civilian equivalent of an M-16,” Gohd said.

To start off, the group is focusing on grass-roots fundraising and is asking for $17 donations from individuals. The figure represents the number of victims who were murdered in the Parkland shooting. Down the road, the group has mega-donors who are pledging large contributions, according to Gohd.

“Every time something like what happened in Parkland occurs, one would think that would precipitate some type of action, but all it does is it gets the politicians to say now is not the time, thoughts and prayers, let’s not politicize, over and over and over again,” Kasky said. “That is going to change.”

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