October 31, 2017 — One week before election day, Giffords PAC, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, released a new radio ad highlighting the difference between the two Virginia gubernatorial candidates on the issue of gun safety, and calling on voters to elect Ralph Northam on November 7.
The spot, hitting the air in Richmond on Tuesday, features clips of former President Barack Obama talking about the devastating toll gun violence is having on our communities. “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun,” Obama says in the ad.
The ad goes on to explain that Ralph Northam is the only candidate for governor who will take on the NRA. Northam will fight to make our communities safer and keep guns away from violent criminals. “Republican Ed Gillespie cares more about his NRA endorsement than the safety of our community,” the spot goes on to explain.
Just five days after the worst mass-shooting in American history, Mark Kelly went to Virginia and demanded Ed Gillespie release his NRA questionnaire. Throughout his Virginia gubernatorial campaign, Ed Gillespie has touted his NRA endorsement, but has refused to disclose whether or not he would support the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda that threatens the safety of Virginia’s families and communities.
“Where Ralph Northam will work to improve public safety for all Virginians, Ed Gillespie has shown that he will be a rubber stamp for the gun lobby’s dangerous agenda. Ed Gillespie has received an A-rating from the National Rifle Association and has been endorsed by the NRA,” said Mark Kelly, co-founder of Giffords. “But what remains unclear is what Ed Gillespie had to promise in order to get that endorsement. As governor, will Ed Gillespie support allowing guns in K-12 schools? As governor, will Ed Gillespie eliminate the permitting system for carrying concealed firearms, so that there is no background check and no safety training required? Does Ed Gillespie still want to protect the loopholes the let felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns without a background check — a loophole that 88 percent of Virginians favor closing?”
The radio ad released today is part of a larger voter education effort spearheaded by the gun safety group this election cycle. In coordination with the Virginia Democratic Party, Giffords PAC sent 165,000 Virginia household a letter from Gabby discussing the stakes in this election and what it means for gun violence prevention issues. This mail piece was complemented by a digital campaign featuring Facebook and Instagram ads targeting to 25,000 persuadable voters, with an accompanying website, letterfromgabby.com
At all levels of government, Giffords backs candidates with the courage to reject the gun lobby, who are passionate about reducing gun violence, and who commit to taking action once elected. For the 2017 election cycle, Giffords PAC endorsed a number of gun violence prevention champions, including:
- Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam (Governor)
- Justin Fairfax (Lieutenant Governor)
- Mark Herring (Attorney General)
- Dawn Adams (House District 68)
- John Bell (House District 87)
- Karrie Delaney (House District 67)
- Kelly Fowler (House District 21)
- Jennifer Foy (House District 2)
- Elizabeth Guzman (House District 31)
- Chris Hurst (House District 12)
- Mike Mullin (House District 93)
- Kathleen Murphy (House District 34)
- David Reid (House District 32)
- Danica Roem (House District 13)
- Shelly Simonds (House District 94)
- Kathy Tran (House District 42)
Giffords campaigns in key elections to elevate the issue of gun safety and builds gun violence prevention majorities from state houses all the way up to the United States Senate. During the Virginia primary election, Giffords PAC hosted a gun violence prevention forum with the Democratic candidates. Both campaigns attended and spoke extensively about their plans to make the commonwealth safer.