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Advocates of gun reform legislation hold a candlelight vigil for victims of recent mass shootings. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the biggest gun safety advocacy groups in the U.S., is launching a $550,000 digital ad campaign targeting 15 Republican-held Virginia House and Senate districts — seats the group aims to flip this year, Everytown told Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The likelihood of federal gun control measures passing in Congress this year is slipping away, as attention has shifted to impeachment proceedings. But given the series of horrific mass shootings over the past few years, gun control remains a leading issue in 2019 and 2020 elections.

By the numbers: States have already taken gun control into their own hands. 25 states have now passed laws disarming domestic abusers, 21 states require background checks and 17 states have passed red flag laws, according to Everytown.

  • Virginia, a purple state that has been trending blue, has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. It is also home to the NRA. With more Democrats in office, Everytown hopes more gun safety laws will pass in Virginia.

Background: After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach earlier this year, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam ordered a special legislative session to consider gun control measures. Republican state lawmakers ended it after just 90 minutes, and not a single bill was considered, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

  • "After the Virginia Beach mass shooting, Republican politicians chose to stand with the gun lobby — so now Virginia voters are looking for leaders who will stand up for their safety," John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, told Axios in a statement.
  • Everytown has committed to spending $2.5 million on Virginia's 2019 races.

Go deeper

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.