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Can a million dollars buy gun safety? The administration’s new campaign


The Obama administration is stepping up its fight for gun-reform and is turning to radio, billboard, and television to get its message out.

The Justice Department announced plans on to launch a million-dollar gun-safety campaign on Thursday. It follows a successful step forward with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of a gun trafficking bill, now up for a full Senate vote.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance, a subsidiary of the DOJ, has awarded $1 million to the National Crime Prevention Council to develop a National Public Education Campaign on responsible gun ownership and safe gun storage. The campaign will also encourage gun owners to report lost or stolen guns “to ensure public safety.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said of the campaign:  “As part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence, the administration is committed to working with firearm owners and enthusiasts to prevent tragic accidents and keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.”

The DOJ estimates that the public service ads will reach more than 1,700 television stations, nearly 15,000 radio stations and more than 500 cable networks in 210 markets in the summer roll-out.

In some ways the blanketing of the gun-safety messaging by the campaign has already begun. At a ceremony for the signing of the Violence Against Women Act, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made several mentions of the need to tackle the problem of guns in relation to domestic violence, as well as mass shootings.

While the administration prepares to go on offense, the cash-loaded NRA is preparing a defensive lineup which, according to Politico, also includes media buys, social and grass-roots initiatives, and the sponsorship of a NASCAR race.

Can dumping a million dollars on advertising stand up  against the NRA and make a dent on gun violence? A new study suggests that the best way to curb incidents of gun violence is through enforcing legislation. The conclusion is that states with more firearm laws had lower rates of firearm related deaths (homicide and suicide). There are multiple caveats to the study, however, including the fact that it did not account for variations in laws between states, trafficking of weapons between states, and was based on data provided by anti-gun advocacy groups.

Tell us what you think is the the most useful approach to the problem of gun violence.

Can a million dollars buy gun safety? The administration's new campaign