October 27, 2017 — Today, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, issued a statement in response to two misleading ads released this week by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie. The ads claim that Democrat candidate Ralph Northam made it easier for violent felons and sex offenders to get their hands on guns.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
“These misleading ads from Ed Gillespie are a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from his own public safety record. The lanes in this race could not be any clearer. Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has spent his entire career in public service working to make Virginia’s communities safer. On the other hand, Ed Gillespie has been endorsed by the gun lobby and opposes evidence-based policies, like universal background checks, that would close the loopholes that let dangerous people easily buy guns in Virginia with no questions asked.
“Virginians deserve a governor who has the courage to protect their Second Amendment rights, keep guns out of dangerous hands and make Virginia safer from gun violence, not someone who will act as a rubber stamp for the Washington gun lobby’s dangerous agenda. Ralph Northam is the only candidate in this race with the courage to fight gun violence. Ed Gillespie’s policies would hurt Virginia and make the state less safe.”
About Ed Gillespie’s Misleading Claims
Here are four observations regarding the Gillespie campaign’s latest attempt to mislead voters about the important issue of gun violence prevention, just weeks before the election:
Ed Gillespie’s most recent ad is both misleading and hypocritical. Despite the ad’s implication that the restoration of rights for felons includes immediate access to guns, the state of Virginia requires anyone who has had their rights restored to petition local authorities for the full restoration of gun rights.
While Gillespie’s ad levels false accusations against Northam, it’s obvious that he is intentionally misdirecting attention away from his own record. It is Gillespie’s opposition to universal background checks that makes it easier for dangerous individuals – including violent felons – to get their hands on guns by purchasing guns at gun shows or online and puts Virginia communities at risk.
This ad is the mark of a desperate campaign. Gillespie has been trailing Northam for several weeks in public polling and in the waning days of the election has decided to take a play from the Trump playbook and fear-monger his way to Election Day.
This is yet another sign of the strength of gun violence prevention as an electoral issue. Although Gillespie accepted the support of the NRA, he recognizes that – despite the vast sums of money spent by the NRA – the gun lobby’s message is losing the day. Rather than adopting the the NRA’s message of “guns everywhere and for everyone,” Gillespie is misleading voters about Northam’s record in an attempt to turn the attacks he’s been subject to on his opponent. What’s most remarkable is that even in the NRA’s backyard, its chosen candidate is distancing himself from their toxic message.
Read a memo from Giffords Executive Director, Peter Ambler, about the misleading ads here.