An anti-gun violence group founded by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is hoping to raise $20 million to spend on the 2014 election -- matching what the National Rifle Association spent in 2012. 

"We are going to provide support and backing for candidates in the U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate races that are attacked by the NRA for taking moderate positions on common-sense gun safety issues," wealthy Texas Democratic Steve Mostyn told Reuters.

Mostyn and his wife Amber, both trial lawyers, have already given $1 million to Giffords' political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions. 

In addition to Giffords' group, the White House is working with liberal interest groups, labor unions, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and other gun control organizations on a well-financed campaign to shift public opinion and support lawmakers who vote for new firearms restrictions. 

The groups are working to enlist religious leaders, mayors, police chiefs and other influential constituents to lobby lawmakers. The organizations also plan to stage rallies at congressional town hall meetings across the country, in the manner of the 2009 tea party protests against President Obama's health-care overhaul.