A man practices shooting his semi-automatic handgun at targets at the Ferry Brook Range, on January 26, 2013 in Keene, New Hampshire.
Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/Getty

Gabrielle Giffords’ gun reform group aims new ads at New Hampshire

Updated

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ gun group on Wednesday expanded their campaign for tighter gun laws from the Southwest to the Northeast, debuting two new ads targeting Republican candidates.

In the TV commercials, members of Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) take aim at two New Hampshire congressional candidates’ opposition to sealing the loophole in the federal background checks system that allows domestic abusers, stalkers, and other individuals who pose a threat to society to buy guns.

In “Wrong Priorities,” the organization focuses on Republican Congressman Frank Guinta, who the narrator says “puts politics first” by following the gun lobby’s agenda and supporting slashing funding to prevent domestic violence.

“Those are Congressman Guinta’s priorities. Are they yours?” the narrator asks viewers before the conclusion of the 30-second spot.

Strange Ideas” singles out Republican state Rep. Marilinda Garcia for holding beliefs contrary to those of most New Hampshire residents, including her opposition to closing gun loopholes. She is running for a U.S. House seat in her state’s Second Congressional District.

“Granite Staters deserve commonsense leadership, not Marilinda Garcia,” the narrator says, also highlighting Garcia’s opposition to raising the minimum wage and guaranteeing equal pay for women.

Both commercials will air on television for at least two weeks.

Giffords, a Democrat, resigned from Congress after being shot by a gunman in 2011 outside of a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. An overwhelming majority – 85% – of voters in New Hampshire favor laws to prevent violence, such as requiring background checks for gun sales online and at trade shows, according to results from new research by ARS. An additional 83% of residents support preventing the sale of firearms to convicted domestic abusers and stalkers.

In the general election on Nov. 4, Guinta will challenge Democratic Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. Garcia will face off against Democratic Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who led slightly in RealClearPolitics polling data averages.

The group previously released three TV commercials in Arizona that highlight congressional candidate Martha McSally’s similar resistance to closing loopholes. McSally, a Republican and retired Air Force fighter pilot backed by the gun lobby, will challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Barber on Nov. 4 in Arizona’s Second Congressional District.

This week, McSally called for ARS to remove the ad because she said she is a victim of stalking, TPM reported.

“As someone who’s experienced being stalked, I know what it feels like to worry constantly about when and where your stalker will appear next and what he’ll do,” McSally said, according to The Arizona Republic. She also asked Barber to denounce the ad.

ARS, meanwhile, continues to stand by the publication of the commercial.

The same day as ARS released the ads in New Hampshire, Everytown for Gun Safety published the results of an investigation in Washington that revealed that most of the criminals in the state purchase firearms from the online marketplace to avoid background checks. Of the identified people seeking guns in unlicensed sales over the Internet, nearly one in 10 had been convicted of crimes that prevented them from legally possessing firearms. The investigation also found that 44,000 guns are posted for sale annually on the Internet.

The pro-reform gun group, backed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, examined five major Washington classified websites, including Armslist.com, the self-described Craigslist for guns. Those platforms illegally transfer about 4,000 firearms each year.

Some candidates continue to use guns in their attack ads ahead of the first election cycle since 20 educators and six first-graders were killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. In her most recent spot, Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes shoots a firearm and criticizes the way her opponent Mitch McConnell held a gun during a speech earlier this year.

Gun Policy and New Hampshire

Gabrielle Giffords' gun reform group aims new ads at New Hampshire

Updated