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Republican senator 'a calm voice in a sea of shouters' against gun violence

Members of the gun group led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords encourage voters to support GOP Sen. Susan Collins because she favors firearms restrictions.
Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is followed by reporters as she leaves a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Oct. 12, 2013.

In their latest effort to spread awareness about candidates who have pushed for stronger restrictions on firearms, members of the gun group led by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords are encouraging voters to support a Republican senator.

In a new 30-second advertisement, "Steady for Maine," the group Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) highlights Sen. Susan Collins' bipartisan leadership on reducing gun violence. Amid images of waves crashing onto the shore, the narrator describes the GOP member as "a calm voice in a sea of shouters."

He concludes by saying, "Susan Collins, steady for Maine, no matter which way the tides roll."

Following the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Collins was one of four Senate Republicans to support the bipartisan legislation that would have expanded background checks to include gun purchases at shows and online. The Senate failed to pass the measure last April.

In another move atypical of members in her conservative party, Collins was the fourth GOP senator to favor gay marriage following Maine lawmakers' decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

The new television ad is expected to air for at least two weeks as the country closes in on the Nov. 4 midterm elections. Collins currently leads her challenger, Democratic candidate Shenna Bellows, the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Last month, ARS applauded another GOP candidate, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, for attempting to encourage both his Republican and Democratic colleagues to pass stricter gun-control measures. Like Collins, Fitzpatrick also co-sponsored a bill that would have expanded background checks for firearm purchases.

Previously, the pro-reform gun group released commercials focusing on some candidates' opposition to closing the federal loophole in the background checks system. The individuals included Republican candidates Martha McSally of Arizona, and Frank Guinta and Marilinda Garcia of New Hampshire.

Giffords became a staunch advocate for stronger gun laws after she was shot in the head outside of a supermarket in 2011. She co-founded the group with her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly. Together, they work to push for tighter restrictions on firearms nationwide.

The national debate about gun rights remains at a standstill as shooting rampages continue across the country. Two U.S. schools were placed on lockdown on the same day last week following separate incidents  — one in North Carolina and one in Kentucky — with individuals carrying and firing guns on campus. Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, was also recently placed on lockout for more than two hours because of an undisclosed "threat."