National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and gun control advocate Mark Kelly do not agree on a lot of things, but they have recently found common ground in promoting awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Odds are that you have heard, or even participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral phenomenon that has spread with the aid of celebrities on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The rules of the challenge are relatively simple: within 24 hours of being challenged, the participant must record a video of themselves be doused with a bucket of ice water. They are then allowed to challenge three other people, who must also complete the challenge within 24 hours. If the participant decides to forego the challenge, they are urged instead to make a monetary contribution to ALS charities, such as the ALS Association.
The challenge is generally considered light-hearted fun by its participants, many of whom decide to donate even after completing the challenge. Although the Ice Bucket Challenge has its critics, the ALS Association recently announced a surge in donations. As of Saturday, the group has received $62.5 million between July 29 and August 23. The same period last year only drew $2.4 million in donations.
Notable gun control advocate and former astronaut Mark Kelly decided to undertake the challenge himself, and in return he called out Wayne LaPierre. The two have clashed many times in recent years over firearms laws, but Kelly said in a video that perhaps one day, they can both agree on an issue besides supporting ALS research. At that point a bucket of ice water was dumped unceremoniously over his head.
LaPierre quickly rose to the challenge, releasing his own video shortly afterwards on YouTube. The NRA leader also announced that he will be writing out a check to the ALS Association.
Kelly and his wife, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffods, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions after a tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Giffords herself survived being shot during an assassination attempt in 2011.