The National Rifle Association has been under fire (no pun intended) for a while now. The embattled civil rights group has had a rough go in recent months with internal strife coming at a time when gun rights face serious pressure in the legislative arena, to say nothing of among the public at large.

Honestly, it almost seemed unfathomable that we wouldn’t end up with some kind of gun control after the last year or so with high profile mass shootings seemingly coming one after another.

And then Beto O’Rourke opened his mouth and started talking about a “mandatory buyback,” which is just a polite euphemism for “gun confiscation.” To make matters worse, other Democrats joined with him in calling for the confiscation of AR-15s and similar style rifles.

And the beneficiary of this? The NRA PAC, apparently.

Donations to the NRA’s political action committee rose again last month, FEC filings show, after several 2020 Democrats advocated for the confiscation of certain guns.

The NRA’s PAC raked in $1.3 million in total contributions throughout September, an increase of nearly $400,000 from its previous month, with an overwhelming majority of its cash haul coming from small donors. Of the $1.3 million, $981,277 was sent from individuals contributing less than $200. September was the fourth month in 2019 that the PAC has collected at least $1 million; it currently has $10 million on hand.

The spike in funding came as Democrats running for president have increasingly moved toward support for new gun bans, and even confiscation. Beto O’Rourke, slipping in the polls, promised, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” during September’s primary debate. Senators Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) have both indicated support for O’Rourke’s plan.

The remarks likely drove donations to the gun-rights group, which has strongly condemned O’Rourke and his confiscation plan.

Shocking, right?

The truth is that while there may be a great deal of bickering in the gun rights community from time to time, activists will damn well close ranks when a threat presents itself.

The NRA and its PAC are the proverbial 800-pound gorilla of gun politics, but the organization is only powerful because it represents so many people. You threaten those people, and they’ll fuel that gorilla with money until the end times if need be.

Some have even questioned whether O’Rourke was a GOP plant. They’re joking, of course, but he’s been the best candidate for gun rights we’ve had in a long time.

Now, the NRA PAC gets to reap the rewards from Beto’s comments.

Maybe they’ll send his campaign a nice fruit basket.