A major Republican donor fed up with congressional inaction has launched a gun control advocacy group with support from both Republican congressmen and other donors and fundraisers to persuade Congress to pass comprehensive gun control reform.
Called Americans for Gun Safety Now, the group is spearheaded by Ambassador Al Hoffman Jr., a Florida estate real developer and GOP donor who served as Ambassador to Portugal under George W. Bush.
Hoffman made headlines in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – an area where he has personal and professional ties – when he said he would refrain from donating to politicians who do not back a ban on assault weapons.
The group has devised a six-point plan for comprehensive gun legislation, which is outlined in an ad it ran in the Wall Street Journal Saturday, urging Congress to pass it as soon as possible. The plan includes expanding background checks, raising the age limit for all gun purchases to 21, eliminating bump stocks, and limiting high capacity magazines, while explicitly retaining support for Second Amendment rights.
“The federal government better pass legislation that is readily available right now …. and get it done now, before November,” Hoffman told TIME in his first interview since launching the group. “If they don’t do this, my guess is that they will lose big in November.”
The details of the group were first reported by TIME earlier this month, but Hoffman officially launched the group Saturday, to coincide with the March For Our Lives demonstration in Washington D.C., which he is attending.
The group has 21 supporters, according to the advertisement that ran in the Journal Saturday, which describes them as “a committed group of people representing a wide variety of stakeholders. They include Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed in the shooting; Republican Congressmen Carlos Curbelo and Brian Mast, who authored a New York Times op-ed last month supporting a ban on assault weapons; and Dennis Blair, who served as Director of National Intelligence from 2009 to 2010. In addition to Hoffman, Other prominent Republican donors who are supporting the initiative include Cathy Bailey, Mel Sembler,…