Following Navy Yard Shooting, Top Donor Threatens To Withhold Donations From Democrats Who Opposed Background Checks

A philanthropist who has donated millions to gun safety causes and groups is urging donors to withhold their support from Democrats who oppose gun safety regulations, following Monday’s shooting at Washington’s Navy Yard.

“Each time large-scale gun violence strikes our country — at a workplace, a movie theater, a political rally, or most devastating of all, at a school — a public debate about gun laws ensues,” Eli Broad, who has also funded some of the Center for American Progress’ gun work, wrote in a diary for the Daily Kos on Tuesday. “Then, Congress promises action. But every time, our elected officials fail to deliver.”

“I urge my fellow voters to withhold donations and deny votes to politicians who refuse to take a stand against gun violence, starting with the three senators of the four above who are planning to run for reelection: Begich, Heitkamp, and Pryor,” Broad argued, referring to their votes against a bipartisan measure extending background checks to more gun purchases in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

The plea follows a letter Broad penned to major Democratic donors in California on Sep. 5, asking them to withhold support to the three Democrats “until they stop bowing to pressure from the gun lobby.”


Early reports indicate that Aaron Alexis, who federal authorities say killed 12 people on Monday before dying in a shoot out with police, had been suffering from “a host of serious mental issues, including paranoia and a sleep disorder” and was involved in at least two incidents with a gun. The run-ins with the law caused the Navy to eject him from service, but they did not lead authorities to review and revoke his Texas-issue concealed carry permit. A new report from the Center for American Progress demonstrates that Texas is one of 21 states that doesn’t grant authorities discretion in granting concealed carry licenses.