We keep hearing about how pro-gun candidates are supposedly bought and paid for by the National Rifle Association; as if the nation’s oldest civil rights organization was the ultimate boogeyman. They denounce the NRA and any pro-gun group donating money and working toward the election of various candidates. At the same time, any pro-gun candidate can only be one because the check from the NRA was large enough.

Yet, for the first time in 20 years, pro-gun groups have been outspent by their anti-gun opponents during an election cycle.

For the first time in 20 years, gun-control advocates are outspending gun-rights groups for federal races.

According to Federal Election Commission data collected by Reuters, gun control groups have spent more than 40 percent more than gun-rights groups ahead of next month’s midterm elections.

The data, released by the FEC on Friday, show gun-control groups having spent $20.2 million in the elections, overshadowing the $14.1 million that pro-gun groups have spent.

The financial efforts of those who want more restrictions on guns are largely led by liberal billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who’s thinking about running for president in 2020, according to Reuters.

Bloomberg, who is fervently anti-gun, is behind many gun-control groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, which has used up $3.6 million on the 2018 midterms, according to Reuters.

Of course, this raises a lot of questions.

First, why?

The NRA has argued that the actions of Governor Andrew Cuomo have put the organization on shaky ground financially. Could the lack of pro-gun funds during the campaign season be the result of the NRA just having a whole lot less to throw around?

Or, was it that following Parkland, anti-gun groups got a massive influx of cash and are now spending it like crazy hoping to push in anti-gun candidates?

I think it may be because of a number of factors in place, including those two. Definitely, anti-gun groups are throwing money around like there’s no tomorrow because they know damn good and well they weren’t about to get a chance like this again. Public opinion was decidedly anti-gun for a change, so if they could get enough anti-gun lawmakers elected, they might have a shot.

There was no mention of how they would override a presidential veto on any gun control legislation, mind you, but whatever.

The NRA is probably reducing its spending due to the financial strain of Cuomo’s stunt, but there may also be an understanding that it’s just not needed. The blue wave that was predicted seemed more like wishful thinking than prophecy and recent polls are suggesting that the Democrats might, at best, make some modest gains in Congress. Maybe they take the House, but the Senate seems like a longshot, so there’s not much hope for them to make any movement on gun control.

It would make sense for the NRA to hold its money back until 2020 when the stakes will be higher.

Especially since the folks at the NRA and other pro-gun groups all know that public opinion in the wake of a mass shooting tends to swing toward gun control, then settle down after people remember bad people will do bad things even if they don’t have guns.

Still, this information will make the results on November 6 all that much more interesting.