WASHINGTON - The nonprofit advocacy group backing President Barack Obama's second-term agenda plans to mobilize constituents against the U.S. senators who helped defeat a measure to expand background checks Wednesday - including four members of the president's own party.
Jon Carson, executive director of Organizing for Action, told the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau on Thursday that the group will train its resources against the 45 senators who opposed the legislation, including Democrats Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
"What is happening right now is the reason that OFA needs to be here: to harness the energy and determination of people," Carson said. "I think everyone would agree that the American people are on our side on this. We need to show that the 90 percent on our side have staying power.
"This is one of those moments where we have to prove that in the face of a setback we're not backing down. That's the calculation that some senators were mistaken on. The consequences they're going to have to face are a bunch of angry constituents who are going to keep the issue alive."
Carson said Organizing for Action also will demonstrate support for those who backed the measure, including the Republican co-sponsor, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The group plans to launch sustained campaigns in which constituents will call and tweet lawmakers, write letters to the editor and hold local events spotlighting their support for gun control. Its next major effort comes Saturday, when supporters are organizing rallies and other events in the states of key senators.
Organizing for Action's potential to affect the legislative process remains unclear. The advocacy group made the background check measure its top priority after launching in late January, running online ads and organizing events across the country with victims of gun violence.
Tribune Washington Bureau