Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control advocacy group founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, is spending $4.4 million on ads in six battleground states in the final weeks of the presidential election campaign, Politico reported on Monday.
The group is spending a total of $60 million on ads in 2020 election races. In Texas, Everytown is running $2 million worth of ads attacking Republican candidates in the state’s 22nd and 24th congressional districts over their support for gun rights. Another $1.4 million has been devoted to flipping state legislatures in Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, Iowa, and Minnesota, while $1 million is focused on voter mobilization efforts in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas.
Some of the ads attempt to connect the coronavirus pandemic with casualties of gun violence.
“Deaths from Covid-19 and gun violence are on the rise, but Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature have failed to take the action required to keep us safe,” one digital ad reads.
“At the onset of the pandemic, “everyone asked, ‘was the political zeitgeist scrambled?’ And we asked ourselves the same question,” Everytown president John Feinblatt told Politico. “Our polling showed us, when you couple the dual carnage of Covid and gun violence to legislative failure to address both emergencies, it’s particularly potent.”
Gun sales have surged across the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. The FBI has conducted record numbers of background checks, with 2.7 million in March at the start of the pandemic and 3.9 million in June, after widespread demonstrations and riots broke out in various cities.