In Congress, Only One Maryland Lawmaker gets NRA Money


As congressional gun talks ramp up, advocates for stronger safety laws have called for their representatives to stop accepting campaign finance donations from the National Rifle Association.

The gun rights advocacy group has given $263,818 to candidates in the first two months of 2018 – 98 percent of that going to Republican candidates, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics (, a non-partisan research group that tracks money in U.S. politics.

No Democratic lawmakers from Maryland have received any campaign contributions from gun rights or gun safety groups so far this year.

However, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Cockeysville, has received $1,975, bringing the total since his first campaign in 2008 to $25,447 in funding from the NRA. No other senator or House member from Maryland has received contributions from gun rights advocacy groups, records show.

Neither the NRA nor Harris’s office responded to media inquiries by phone or email about his campaign contributions.

On the other side of the gun debate, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, has received the most money among current senators from gun safety advocates between 1989 and 2016: $105,595, according to Open Secrets data. Almost all of that came during his 2016 Senate campaign.

“This issue shouldn’t be political – it should be about doing everything we can to prevent the loss of another child, another parent,” Van Hollen said in an email to Capital News Service. “With over 90 percent of Americans saying they want something done, the GOP leadership’s refusal to consider measures that are proven to save lives is gross negligence.”

Van Hollen last year urged the National Institutes of Health to renew funding that had lapsed for firearm violence research and introduced legislation with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, which would have set aside $10 million each year from 2018 through 2023 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct or support research on gun violence prevention and firearms safety.

Another Maryland representative, Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Upper Marlboro, introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday that would raise the minimum age required to purchase a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21.

“This common-sense bipartisan bill is a critical first step that closes a dangerous loophole in our gun laws,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown has not received any contributions from gun control groups during his career. Neither have Democratic Reps. John Delaney of Potomac, Jamie Raskin of Kensington, Dutch Ruppersberger of Timonium and John Sarbanes of Towson.

Over the course of his political career, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, has received $2,000 in total contributions from gun control advocates; Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, received $2,450, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, received $2,000, according to Open Secrets.

By Jarod Golub and Julia Karron


Letters to Editor

  1. Michael McDowell says:

    Harris is the only Member of Congress in the whole of Maryland to enthusiastically have accepted $25,000-plus from the NRA and benefit big time from the NRA’s ruthless use of their email membership list in Md. to damage any challengers. He is against an assault weapons ban, he doesn’t want to beef up gun controls, or ID checks. He suggests that the ban on the federal government (the so-called Dickey Amendment) publishing research on the effects of gun wounds be kept and advocated yesterday evening that PRIVATE foundations, which are wholly unaccountable, unlike elected politicians, do such “research” . This do nothing NRA extremist has got to go. Vote him out in November! And this is only one part of a long egregious record of inaction for his constituents and favoring the rich over the rest of us.

  2. Gren Whitman says:

    What a surprise! Maryland’s only GOP congressman taking money from NRA, while our seven Democratic congressmen are not.
    At a committee hearing last Wednesday, I heard the NRA’s lobbyist to the General Assembly state that her organization is against any regulation of any firearm and any accessory for a firearm (i.e., “bump stocks” or other devices to increase rate of fire).
    The NRA is truly despicable.
    The NRA is the major apologist and propagandist for the American arms industry.

  3. Gerald mayned says:

    Gee Fellows the NRA isnt even in the top twenty major political donners in the country. Their power isnt in cash like Planned Parenthoid or the Unions, but in the fact that its members vote. That scares the hell out of liberals. The truth is gun violence in schools ,has been caused by the inability of goverment to identify mentally ill students in its schools or in the case if the latest shooting its in ability to listern to the many who called about this nut from the FBI down to the local police . What is Maryland doing to protect the schools, more feel good laws thst will change nothing or how about spending money on securing the schools. Hiring armed police to patrol the schools, buying top notch security technology to protect the kids. Paying for intervention to get help for these mentally ill kids before it reached the last final stage. Anything else is just fluff.

    • George Shivers says:

      This is the same old argument always used by conservatives and NRA supporters. It’s really becoming tiresome. There is absolutely no logical reason to permit civilians of any age to purchase assault weapons, whose only purpose is to kill people. It’s time for all of us to stand up to NRA and end their power over government policy. Andy Harris consistently votes against the interests of his constituency on all issues. It’s past time for him to return to his medical practice. God help his patients, if he’s no better at that than he is at representing the 1st congressional district!

    • Michael McDowell says:

      “Everything else is ‘fluff’ eh? So we allow 21 year olds to buy military style rifles, no hard questions aekd, which can fire 45 rounds of deadly bullets per minute, or continue to allow bump st0cks, feeble background checks? The NRA 30 years ago was about gun SAFETY. Today this org is inimical to public safety and the big gorilla of the gun lobby. Hunting is fine, but AR-15s aren’t needed for that, nor are high impact hand guns. We need far more stringent controls and mandated safety training at least. The Repub ican Party — and hard liner extremists like the egregious Harris — has been bought and paid for by the NRA.. Hell, Trump got $30-million from them, Florida GOP Senator Rubio well over a million bucks! And yes, you are right, it’s not just money, it’s the email list of these gun mad zealots targeting Members of Congress who don’t pass their purity test, The Second Amendment was written about MILITIAS which were to be REGULATED and they used MUZZLE LOADERS, which were capable of being fired by experts only twice a minute, if that. The Founding Fathers never envisaged rapid firing automatic pistols and rifles. Time for sensible gun control — what have legitimate citizens and hunters to fear from that? The NRA liars out there suggest our government would turn into a dictatorship without gun “freedom” (not). We are a democracy and we can handle that. Shame on Harris and his ilk and those who vote for this NRA shill.

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