POLITICS
05/08/2013 03:22 pm ET Updated May 08, 2013

Gabrielle Giffords Anti-Gun Violence Group Raises $11 Million

AP

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the anti-gun violence group started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and husband Mark Kelly, raised a whopping $11 million over the past four months, Politico reported Wednesday.

Giffords and Kelly founded the political action committee in January in response to December's elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The group's treasurer, Democratic donor Steve Mostyn, had set a target of $20 million for the 2014 congressional elections, an amount that would match spending by the National Rifle Association in the 2012 election cycle. The PAC raised $400,000 in small donations on its first day alone, on top of a $1 million donation from Mostyn himself.

Since then, Americans for Responsible Solutions has amassed nearly 366,000 members and received donations from approximately 53,500 donors, Politico reports.

"Our early success at building a powerful network of committed activists -- and the strength of that network -- shows that the issue of reducing gun violence in America isn’t going away," said Pia Carusone, the group's executive director and co-founder, according to Politico. "The hundreds of thousands of members and donors who’ve joined Gabby and Mark in just our first four months show that Americans know that we can protect the 2nd amendment AND make our communities safer. Americans want their elected officials to be honest and to lead with courage."

Americans for Responsible Solutions has taken a prominent role in legislative efforts to reduce gun violence. Ahead of last month's vote on gun reform measures in the U.S. Senate, the group ran six-figure ads calling for expanded background checks for gun purchasing. Giffords narrated some of the ads herself and personally met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to appeal for their support, drawing at times on her own experience as a victim of gun violence.

The former congresswoman suffered a gunshot wound to the head in January 2011 when a gunman turned a Tucson, Ariz. meeting with constituents into a mass shooting. Giffords' difficult recovery continues.

When the Senate failed to pass legislation to expand background checks last month, Giffords strongly condemned those who voted against the measure and vowed to work toward ousting those who refused to change the laws to reduce gun violence.

"Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious," Giffords wrote in an op-ed. "I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe."

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