The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund is spending half a million dollars in key states on TV and digital ads featuring cops and gun owners voicing support for universal background checks.
The Bloomberg-funded organization hopes that these ads will spur federal lawmakers to criminalize private transfers.
“These ads are a reminder that background checks aren’t a partisan issue, and that the vast majority of Americans support common sense steps to keep guns away from dangerous people,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Whether you’re talking to Republicans, Democrats, gun owners, or law enforcement, there is bipartisan support for strengthening background checks, and we’ll keep reminding Congress of that fact until we see action,” he continued.
The ads will appear in Alaska, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas on various news channels, including Fox News and CNN.
“Passing common sense, constitutional, and lifesaving background check legislation is a critical step toward ending the heartbreaking gun violence we see every day in America,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.
“Our grassroots volunteers are energized, and with these ads we’re making sure our message is heard – we must pass bipartisan background check legislation now, before more lives are lost,” Watts continued.
Everytown continually cites polling that indicates as many as “93 percent of Americans” support the background checks, including “89 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of gun owners.”
On the face of it, those numbers may be accurate. Because there is widespread support for the current background check system which allows friends, neighbors, and extended family members to transfer firearms without having to go to an FFL for a background check.
However, when it comes to expanding the system to criminalize all private transfers, the devil is in the details.
Many Americans, for example, strongly oppose universal background checks if they’re forced to go to an FFL and pay a transfer fee every time they went to lend or sell a firearm to a friend, neighbor, or extended family member.
Many Americans see this process as not only chilling a fundamental right but taxing it as well. One can argue it’s tantamount to a poll tax on one’s right to keep and bear arms.
Moreover, many Americans strongly oppose universal background checks if they lead to the establishment of a federal gun registry, which is, as the Obama administration has stated, the only way to ensure compliance.
In other words, universal background checks will not be the least bit effective if the government cannot track the location of every firearm in civilian hands. And even then, there will be a huge gap in the data as criminals will never register their black market firearms into the system.
Everyone agrees that criminals shouldn’t have guns. But there’s little evidence to suggest that enacting universal background checks will stop bad guys from getting guns. What they will do, for certain, is burden law-abiding citizens and bring us one step closer to universal registration.
Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill recognize this, hence their reluctance to vote for expanded background check legislation. Doubtful these new ads will change their minds.