A new online advocacy group, the United Network of Rational Americans, is aligning itself with Republican icon Ronald Reagan to push its point that gun background checks stop crimes.
The group, which seeks to unite gun owners who support stricter gun control measures, is pegging a new online ad to the 32nd anniversary of John W. Hinckley Jr.'s assassination attempt on Reagan outside the Washington Hilton.
"Secret service agents couldn't protect Ronald Reagan from being shot by a disturbed man," the ad says, showing the number of armed agents surrounding Reagan with bright red arrows. "But the assassination attempt might never have happened if a bill requiring background checks had been law in 1981."
The Brady Act, which passed in 1993 and was named for Reagan's press secretary who was severely wounded during the attack, set up the National Instant Criminal System, the country's background check database. And Reagan was one of its advocates.
He wrote in a 1991 New York Times Op-Ed, "this nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now-the Brady bill- had been law back in 1981."
In the latest ad, the narrator says:
"Tell the Republicans to join President Reagan in supporting, tough, enforceable background checks. People like the one who shot Ronald Reagan shouldn't have access to a gun."
Hinckley was determined to be mentally ill and has spent most of his life in a mental institution, but he has been allowed to spend weeks at a time outside the hospital with his family.
The online ad comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is poised to bring a package of gun-control bills, including a provision for "universal" background checks to the floor for a vote.
While the majority of Americans support the measure, Republicans in the Senate are worried the legislation requires too many private citizens to keep records of gun sales, which they say could lead to a national gun registry. Five Republicans including Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, have promised to filibuster the background checks bill when it comes to the floor.
"We need to convince Republicans in Washington. Reagan lived by the Grace of God, not because he had armed security. And he lived to tell Republicans in Washington today to use your brains, use your hearts, and have enough guts to do what's right," says Scott Crider, the creator of UNRA. "Instead of being selfish and worrying that the NRA will give you a primary opponent in your next election, worry about that next child that will get murdered by a madman with a gun if you don't do your job."
UNRA is the latest group being pushed by Crider's left-leaning social media group Watchdog Causes.
Crider made headlines during the 2012 presidential election for launching "Dogs Against Romney," a group that protested Romney's treatment of animals because he once strapped his dog Seamus to the roof of the family car for a long drive.