The parents of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students in Parkland, Florida have set up a super Political Action Committee (PAC) with the intention of defeating NRA-funded politicians and amending laws that allow for semi-automatic rifles.
The group consists of parents whose children were killed during the deadly Feb. 14 shooting, parents whose children are traumatized by that day’s events, and Parkland community members. The aim of the Families vs. Assault Rifles PAC is to elect candidates to Congress who advocate for 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, one of the PAC's creators and the father of two Parkland students who survived the shooting. “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 continued. “The party in power is being controlled by the NRA.”
Jeff Kasky told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that politicians “who refuse to listen to their constituents and instead, in exchange for cash, do the NRA’s bidding” will be the PAC’s target.
“Forming a PAC is political free speech,” past NRA president Marion Hammer told the Sun Sentinel. “They have every right to do that and that’s all I’m going to say.”
The PAC’s political director, Matt Gohd. told CNN the objective is to earmark the money they raise to focus on competitive federal races, where candidates aren't willing to give up NRA support or aren't willing to amend the National Firearms Act.
“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.
The PAC was started earlier in May. At the moment, it’s targeting grassroots fundraising and requesting $17 donations, which symbolizes the number of victims were murdered on Feb. 14. According to Gohd, the committee has mega-donors who are contributing huge amounts.
“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 told CNN. “That is going to change.”