Obama Political Group, OFA, Uses Navy Yard Shooting to Raise Money

Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group that grew out of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, is calling for supporters to first sign a petition for stricter gun control and then donate to the organization.

The president has been hesitant to try to leverage the Washington Navy Yard shooting to renew his push for gun control measures, but the OFA is promoting a petition for persuade Congress to take action.

“After tragedies like this, now is the time for people like you and me to renew our call for action,” Jon Carson, executive director of Organizing for Action, the advocacy group that grew out of Obama’s presidential campaigns, said in an email to supporters. “Add your name right now to tell Congress you’re not backing down in the fight to prevent gun violence.”

Workers and military personnel walk past an entrance to the Washington Navy Yard Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. The Washington Navy Yard began returning to nearly normal operations three days after it was the scene of a mass shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people. (AP)

The link to the Organizing for Action petition is “Still Fighting.”

After signing, a screen comes up saying, “Thanks — now take the next step.” It this says in smaller letters, “We’re up against powerful special interests that will spend whatever it takes to stand in the way of progress. Chip in today to fight back and help get the job done.”

Then the signer has the options of clicking on donating $15, $35, $50, $100, $250, $500 and $1,000, or “other.”

On Monday, gunman Aaron Alexis murdered 12 employees at the Washington Navy Yard before he was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

Hours later, White House press secretary Jay Carney said it would be “inappropriate” to call for gun control measures while the case is still unfolding.

Organizing for Action sent the email out to supporters demanding more gun control Wednesday night.

In April, the Senate defeated a bill for increased background checks even after Obama threw much of his political capital behind it following the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. in December.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Senate does not have the votes to pass a gun control bill.

Gun control was in the news even before the Navy Yard mass shooting — voters in Colorado last week recalled two state senators for backing new gun control measures in what was seen as a referendum on stricter gun laws.

Organizing for Action cited other cases of gun violence that were not the mass shootings.

“It’s almost unbelievable: More than 8,259 Americans have died due to gun violence since Newtown,” Carson wrote. “As President Obama said, these events are too common. We all stand numb, trying to wrap our minds around another tragedy that breaks our hearts.”

Organizing for Action claimed that public opinion was behind those advocating for more gun control.

“Since the Senate vote failed this spring, OFA supporters have refused to back down — within weeks, we delivered a petition with more than 1.4 million names to leaders in Congress,” Carson wrote. “Just last month, volunteers held hundreds of events across the country, reminding their lawmakers that we’re not going away.”

Obama has signed numerous executive orders for restrictions on guns, but that is not enough, Carson said.

“The president has done what he can to help — taking executive action to close loopholes in background checks on gun sales, nominating Todd Jones to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and more,” he wrote. “But, as he put it, ‘Ultimately this is something that Congress is going to have to act on.’ We can pass legislation that helps prevent future gun violence — we just can’t back down now.”

This story has been updated.