In another push to tighten firearm restrictions nationwide, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ pro-gun reform group released its third television commercial this month targeting a Republican candidate for her position that individuals with misdemeanor charges should be allowed to obtain weapons.
Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), co-founded by Giffords after she was shot in the head, released “Stalker Gap” on Tuesday in an ongoing campaign for tougher gun laws. The new 30-second spot sheds light on Arizona congressional candidate Martha McSally’s resistance to closing an existing loophole in the federal background checks system that allows an individual convicted of misdemeanor stalking to buy a firearm. McSally, a Republican and retired Air Force fighter pilot, disagrees with closing existing loopholes in the federal background checks system.
In the video, “Vicki,” of Tucson, describes the death of her 19-year-old daughter, who was killed by her boyfriend after she told him that she was ending their relationship.
“And he got a gun, and he shot her and my husband,” she says, fighting back tears. “He had threatened her before, and I knew, I just knew.” The current federal policy doesn’t require unlicensed private sellers to perform background checks on prospective purchasers at gun shows and online, nor to maintain records of the sales.
Giffords, a Democrat, resigned from Congress after being shot by a gunman three years ago outside of a Tucson supermarket. Her gun reform group, formed in the aftermath of that shooting, has publicly committed to support candidates from both sides of the aisle who are working to reduce gun violence ahead of the midterm elections. The latest ad, which cost ARS hundreds of thousands of dollars, will air on cable and broadcast stations for at least two weeks.
ARS had previously targeted McSally earlier this month in two separate ads.
A recent poll revealed that 82% of voters believed a candidate’s stance on gun violence prevention is a factor when deciding which politician to support in this year’s upcoming midterm elections.
McSally, who is backed by the gun lobby, will challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Barber on Nov. 4 in Arizona’s Second Congressional District, which includes the southeastern corner of the Grand Canyon State. Barber, Giffords’ longtime district director, succeeded the former congresswoman when she resigned in 2012 to focus on her recovery.
The most recent ad was released on the same day as the one-year mark of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, where a gunman killed a dozen people during his rampage on Sept. 16.
“One year ago, 12 Americans went to work to protect and strengthen the country they loved,” President Barack Obama said Tuesday in a statement. “Today, we must do the same – rejecting atrocities like these as the new normal and renewing our call for commonsense reforms that respect our traditions while reducing the gun violence that shatters too many American families every day.”