As lawmakers return home for the Easter recess, Mayors Against Illegal Guns is launching an ad blitz to remind lawmakers on the fence that there will be consequences for returning to Washington and ignoring gun control.
The ad, "Responsible," will run in 13 gun-friendly states including New Hampshire, Maine and North Dakota and targets moderate Republicans and Democrats, many of whom are up for reelection in 2014. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Dan Coats, R-Ind., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Mary Landrieu, D-La., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will all see ads against them.
The spot, which comes from billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, depicts a simple guy in a plaid shirt sitting in the back of a pickup truck with a shotgun. As kids play in the background, he begins talking about how he, like more than 90 percent of Americans, supports comprehensive background checks.
"For me guns are for hunting and protecting my family. I believe in the Second Amendment and I'll fight to protect it," he says. "That is why I will fight for background checks so that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can't buy guns. That protects my rights and my family."
The blitz comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is poised to take up gun-control measures, including background checks, school safety provisions and a firearms trafficking bill, when the Senate returns to Washington in two weeks. But the idea of "universal' background checks does not sit well with Republicans and some pro-gun Democrats. The National Rifle Association has said that such a sweeping background check system could lead to a national gun registry and Bloomberg's money is not going to convince gun owners otherwise.
"He cannot spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public. He can't buy America," NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Sen. Joe Manchin D-W. Va., is still working with Democrats to find a compromise on background checks that would be more palatable to moderate lawmakers, but if past is prologue, a deal could be harder to broker than it appears. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D- N.Y., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., tried to find common ground before senators left for their spring break, but negotiations crumbled because they could not agree on whether an unlicensed gun dealer should have to keep a log of every gun they sold.
Already Reid has had to pull out the most controversial provision, an assault weapons ban, from the package of gun-control legislation because he said there was no way that he had the votes to pass it. The ban will likely be introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., as an amendment to the larger gun package.