Jan 30, 2020

Gun control group Everytown to spend $1.25 million on competitive state legislatures

Protesters at a rally hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety plans to roll out $1.25 million for digital ad campaigns in five states where control of the legislatures is at play this year, Everytown first told Axios.

Why it matters: The group has committed to spending a total of $60 million on 2020 elections. This newest campaign will focus on pressuring competitive state legislatures, including in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, to move forward on gun safety legislation.

Between the lines: Everytown, which was cofounded by now-presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, spent $2.5 million to help flip the Virginia General Assembly and promoted pro-gun safety candidates last year — outspending the NRA.

  • The commonwealth's now Democratic majority has swiftly passed a slew of gun control measures, including universal background checks on gun purchases.
  • The new 2020 campaign ads will tell state lawmakers that they are "ON NOTICE" with a message to pass gun reform measures.

"Listen to the public and pass meaningful gun safety laws, or bear the brunt of a targeted campaign to hold you accountable for your inaction in 2020," Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement.

  • "The outcome of Virginia's 2019 election should be a lesson to all lawmakers."

By the numbers: Just over half of likely voters Everytown polled in the five targeted states said they supported stronger gun laws, with 82% of those gun control supporters saying the issue was "very important" to their 2020 vote. Just 10% said they wanted more relaxed gun laws.

Go deeper: Guns surpass immigration as biggest non-impeachment issue

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Bloomberg to run gun control ad during Super Bowl

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg on Jan. 26. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg will feature a 60-second campaign ad titled "George" after the Super Bowl halftime show highlighting Calandrian Simpson Kemp, a mother from Texas whose 20-year-old son was shot and killed during an altercation.

Why it matters: The $11 million ad will run in front of what is routinely the largest television audience of the year and will promote gun safety measures to curb gun violence.

Go deeperArrowJan 30, 2020 - Health

Where 2020 Democrats stand on gun control

Warren and Biden on the debate stage on Jan. 14. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a new gun reform bill on Thursday with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) that calls for raising the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21 and increasing the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.

The big picture: 2019's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach; and near Odessa, Texas, have pushed 2020 Democrats to take harder stances on gun control than in the last presidential election, when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton only briefly addressed the issue in their primary debate.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Assault weapons ban dies in Virginia Senate despite Democratic control

Gun-rights ralliers at a protest outside the Virginia Capitol Building in January. Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images.

An assault weapons ban died in the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday despite a Democratic majority in the assembly, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Democrats flipped the Virginia House and Senate last year after campaigning hard on gun control. The assault weapons bill would have banned future transfers and sales of all assault weapons in the state.