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Gabrielle Giffords' gun group targets Arizona candidate

The group created by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords released two new advertisements that highlight an Arizona Republican's opposition to closing a gun loophole.
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Retired Congresswoman and co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, Gabby Giffords, speaks at on May 6, 2014 in New York City.

"It's personal."

That's what one mother is saying about closing the loophole in the federal background checks system. As she says in a new TV advertisement released Wednesday by Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), her daughter was fatally shot by a man with a criminal record who bought the firearm at a gun show, without passing a background check.

The 30-second spot, "Personal," is one of two new commercials funded by ARS, an anti-gun group created by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband to push Congress to act. The videos highlight Arizona congressional candidate Martha McSally's opposition to closing existing loopholes in the federal background checks system. McSally, a Republican and retired Air Force fighter pilot, is backed by the gun lobby.

"To McSally, it's just politics. To me, it's personal," the mother says.

The other ad, "Nearly Everyone," focuses on data involving the number of southern Arizonans who favor background checks, which is almost nine out of 10.

"The Washington lobbyists who support the loophole are spending thousands to elect McSally. Martha McSally took their money. Now she sides with them, not us," the narrator says.

The federal system currently 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 supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. An overwhelming majority — 86% — of southern Arizonans support expanding background checks to include guns sold online and at gun shows, according to results from new research. Eighty-two percent of voters said that a candidate's views on gun-violence prevention are a factor when deciding which politician to support in this year's midterm elections.

The ads, which cost ARS hundreds of thousands of dollars, will air on cable and broadcast stations for at least two weeks.

The group publicly committed to support candidates from both sides of the aisle who are working to reduce gun violence ahead of the midterm elections. The organization's previous ads have questioned Giffords' former colleagues in Washington about their failure to act and pass reform ahead of the one-year mark of the 2012 tragedy inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

McSally will challenge incumbent Democrat 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.