“We are not supporting any candidates, only going against NRA-funded candidates…”
The group, which began taking donations Wednesday, will use its money to try to oust political candidates who both oppose its efforts to amend the laws that permit semi-automatic rifles, or who receive campaign donations from the NRA — or both.
The NRA has consistently maintained it is supporting Second Amendment rights of gun ownership.
State records show Families vs Assault Rifles PAC Inc. was registered as a nonprofit on May 18 by Jeff Kasky, the father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student activist Cameron Kasky, who is a founder of March for Our Lives.
Jeff Kasky said the politicians “who refuse to listen to their constituents and instead, in exchange for cash, do the NRA’s bidding” will be its target.
“We are going to go up against NRA candidates in every meaningful race in the country,” Kasky told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. He said financial backers have pledged to donate “multiples” of the donations the group receives.
By late Tuesday, Kasky said he has a “couple dozen” supporters, “but we haven’t even started recruiting support yet.”
He said those include Stoneman Douglas “parents of murdered children and parents like myself, who were lucky to get our kids back that day.”
According to its website: “FAMSVARPAC was founded … with a vested interest in keeping our community and our entire country safe from the proliferation of military-style assault weapons — extraordinarily dangerous weapons designed for nothing more than killing the greatest amount of humans in the shortest possible time.”
The group’s mission is to “remove the NRA from our political system” and also to make an amendment the National Firearms Act of 1934 to include a ban on assault weapons, bump stocks, and high-capacity magazines, according to its website.
The idea was conceived by a Democrat fundraiser from California, and encouraged by a former presidential candidate.
The PAC’s executive director, Matt Gohd, of Santa Monica, Ca., said he was outraged at school shootings and the ease people could purchase the “civilian version of an M16 (assault rifle).”
That type of weapon “far exceeds what the framers thought of when they thought of the Second Amendment.
“We’re not taking on the Second Amendment, we are anti-military-type weapons.”
Gohd, an investment banker, said he turned to his friend Bob Kerrey, a former senator from Nebraska and a 1992 candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
He said Kerrey told him he didn’t need a new law, only to amend the National Firearms Act that was already on the books. Then Gohd was introduced to Kasky through friends when he sought a partner from Parkland. Gohd said the PAC plans to soon add professional staff to its team as researchers.
“We’re going to take this on in a big way,” he said.
Kerrey said the federal law already bans weapons such as grenades, automatic weapons and chemical weapons. “It works,” he told the Sun Sentinel on Wednesday of the law. “Can you image if hand grenades aren’t banned?”
He said the proposed amendment is “a reasonable thing. I give up the right to own a grenade cause the rest of us will be safer as a consequence. Grenades are fun too, guys like blowing things up, but we’re a safer country because you can’t own one.”
He called schools a “vulnerable environment, these are young people in large numbers. They are trying to learn, not trying to defend themselves.”
Said Kasky, an attorney and mediator: “Wait until you see what we have in store for the NRA. This is a way for (Stoneman Douglas) parents to have their say. We are not supporting any candidates, only going against NRA-funded candidates; we are nonpartisan and single issue.
“Parents have been sitting on the sidelines and supporting the students. But we feel we have something to say, too.”
A spokeswoman for the NRA declined to comment on the PACs intentions.
“Forming a PAC is political free speech,” said Marion Hammer, past NRA president, on Wednesday morning. “They have every right to do that and that’s all I’m going to say.”
©2018 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.