Science & Tech

The NRA is facing its biggest challenge yet: Bill Gates

Bill Gates is taking on America's National Rifle Association (NRA). Or, as the Daily Beast put it, the NRA just "pissed off the wrong nerd genius".

The Microsoft founder has donated $1 million to a campaign from the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which pushes to expand background checks for firearms purchased within the state of Washington. Voters will decide whether Initiative 594 should become law in November, which gives the group more than enough time to spend Mr Gates's cash.

Mr Gates's donation to Initiative 594 comes shortly after Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen gave $500,000, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie have also donated $125,000 each to the campaign.

The NRA opposes the initiative on the basis it will create more regulation and lead to a situation where a person cannot merely hand a firearm "to a family member or friend".

While Mr Gates has both the financial clout and fame to take on America's gun lobby, it remains to be seen if this is a fight Silicon Valley's finest can win. As Business Insider notes, the NRA "has won nearly every national political battle, even after mass shootings. On immigration reform, a similar contingent of well-heeled technologists have so far failed in their push for Congress’s comprehensive immigration bill".

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