With impeachment talk thick in the air in Washington, serious discussions about implementing any type of gun safety legislation seems dead in the water.
Perhaps that’s why two gun-control groups plan to spend nearly $200,000 in a digital advertising push during the October congressional recess aimed at Republicans in swing-states. Among the 15 Republican senators targeted are Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida.
Leading the campaign are the groups Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – both created and funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The ads will appear on the homepages of some of the state’s biggest newspaper’s websites.
“The Senate’s inaction on gun safety has a body count, and the gun safety movement will not stand silent while lawmakers try to run out the clock,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Everytown is committed to amplifying the voices of the growing majority of Americans who are demanding background-check and red-flag laws – and who will hold accountable those lawmakers who defy the people’s will,” he said.
The groups want the Senate to take up a bill passed by the House in February that would require background checks on all gun sales. Although only eight House Republicans voted for that bill, three of them hailed from Florida – Reps. Brian Mast, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Vern Buchanan.
The groups also want the Senate to pass a “red flag” law that allows temporary removal of guns from individuals at high risk of harming themselves or others, which appeared to enjoy bipartisan support when lawmakers returned to D.C. following the August recess. Florida is one of 17 states that have already passed their own versions of the law.
Rubio introduced a proposal earlier this year that wouldn’t create a federal red-flag law per se, but would give states incentives to adopt their own by providing federal grants for implementation. Scott also supports that legislation.
On expanded background checks, Scott told NBC’s Meet The Press last month that a lot of gun safety measures had been proposed and “I’m going to review all of them.”
Speaking with NPR last month, Rubio said he didn’t believe background checks would have prevented any of the recent shootings in the news.
“I don’t understand why people believe that that’s the answer to this problem,” he said. “We already have background checks [for] virtually every other gun sale in America.”
The ads from the two gun-control groups address senators directly, telling them, “Inaction is unacceptable. The time for gun safety is now.”