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Gun-control groups launch campaign against McSally

By: - February 26, 2020 9:44 am

Martha McSally speaks at a 2018 primary election night gathering on Aug. 28, 2018 in Tempe. Photo by Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety is spending $43,000 on Facebook and newspaper ads targeting GOP Sen. Martha McSally over gun control measures, specifically one bill that has been languishing in the Senate for a year. 

“Dear Senator McSally, over 1,000 Arizonans have died from gun violence in the year since the U.S. House passed H.R. 8, a bill that would require background checks on all gun sales,” the Facebook ad says. “But you’ve refused to act.” 

Last year, the House passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The measure has five Republican co-sponsors and eight Republicans voted for the measure. 

Now, H.R. 8 is sitting in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has continued to delay a vote on the bill

“McConnell and his allies may be able to block a bill from getting through, but they cannot block our vote in November,” Kara Waite, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a group that is part of the ad campaign that has been pushing for gun control measures at the Arizona state Capitol and nationwide said to the Arizona Mirror. 

The bill is the first major gun control measure to make it through either chamber in nearly two decades. However, even if it were to make it out of the Senate, President Donald Trump has already signaled that he would veto it. 

That hasn’t deterred people like Waite, though, who said that public opinion is on her side. 

A 2018 Gallup poll showed that 92% of Americans favor universal background checks as a way to prevent mass shootings. Additionally, Public Policy Polling found that 83% of gun owners say they support universal background checks. 

However, McSally has yet to meet with Moms Demand Action. 

“We would like to hold Senator Martha McSally accountable for that,” Waite said. “We have not been able to have a lot of conversations with her.”

The group has also run into a similar situation in Arizona. 

Moms Demand Action was supporting and helping two bills that would have removed guns from the hands from domestic violence abusers, but neither bill was considered by the GOP-led legislature. 

Waite and her group hope that the ads will get McSally’s attention to get her to take some sort of action on the bill or at the very least, let her know that the voters are watching. 

McSally’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy

Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joined the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.