A group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly began Wednesday airing radio advertisements that hold two Republican senators accountable for voting against the failed gun control legislation.
Giffords' group, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), launched the ads in southern New Hampshire and Kentucky, the home states of Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte and Mitch McConnell. The ads will air for two weeks.
Ayotte and McConnell were instrumental in last week's defeat of an amendment that would have required universal background checks for gun buyers, despite nine in 10 Americans supporting expanded gun checks.
Ayotte's approval rating in her home state fell 15 points following her vote against background checks for gun sales last week.
In the N.H. "Ignored" ad, two women discuss Ayotte, with one saying, "Remember that ad Kelly Ayotte ran saying she's one of us?" recalling Ayotte's 2010 campaign advertisement where she was "out for a run." "It sure didn't take long for her to 'go Washington.'"
The Kentucky "Listen" ad begins with a montage from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School: "We watched. We listened. We felt it. Newtown," the narrator says. "But Sen. McConnell won't listen to us. Eighty-two percent of Kentuckians support universal background checks, but Sen. McConnell voted against them."
Radio spots urge listeners to call Sen. McConnell's office to defend the "common-sense plan that protected Second Amendment rights." His vote, the narrator says, made "our children and our families less safe."
After Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman, was shot and injured in Tucson two years ago, she and her husband have been advocates for gun safety. A minority of senators "gave into fear" and blocked "common-sense" legislation, she said in a New York Times op-ed last week.
"I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither," she wrote. "These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying, and outside spending."
ARS will launch additional advertising targets later this week featuring Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, thanking senators—such as John McCain—who voted for the background check measure.
U.S. senators last week also defeated an amendment that would have given gun owners the right to carry concealed weapons across state lines, a small victory for gun-control advocates.
But legislators failed to pass five other amendments that would ban assault weapons, increase funding for criminal prosecution, make gun trafficking a federal crime, expand veterans’ gun rights, and ban high-capacity magazines.