One of the nation’s biggest gun-control groups is taking aim at Virginia Republicans.
Everytown for Gun Safety “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,” Axios reported Thursday.
All 140 seats in the state legislature are up for election in November.
In all, Everytown plans to spend $2.5 million on Virginia elections this year.
Because it’s “a purple state that has been trending blue [and] has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. It is also home to the NRA,” Axios says, adding that with more Democrats in office, “Everytown hopes more gun safety laws will pass in Virginia.”
“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,” Axios says.
The digital ad blitz was first reported Wednesday by the Washington Post.
Following a mass attack that killed 12 people in Virginia Beach last May, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, ordered a special legislative session to address the issue.
“Republican state lawmakers ended it after just 90 minutes, and not a single bill was considered,” says Axios, citing Norfolk’s Virginian-Pilot, the state’s largest daily newspaper.
After the Virginia Beach 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.
The news website adds that according to Everytown, individual states are taking gun control into their own hands: 25 have now passed laws disarming domestic abusers, 21 require background checks and 17 states have passed “red flag laws.”