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Mayors Against Illegal Guns is targeting Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who faces re-election in 2014, for his opposing legislation that would have expanded background checks on purchases of new firearms.
The group, backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is airing an ad that features Angela Bradford-Barnes recounting how her friend, Bill Gwatney, was shot and killed in 2008, blaming a system that allows criminals to easily attain guns. Gwatney, who served as chairman of Arkansas' Democratic Party organization, was also a friend of Pryor.
"On that vote, he let us down," she says. "Tell Mark Pryor to take another look at background checks because we're tired of being disappointed."
According to National Journal, the $350,000 ad buy is set to air in Arkansas over the next two weeks. A Pew Research poll released Thursday found that while a staggering 81 percent of Republicans favor expanding background checks, only 57 percent of Republicans said they wanted a background checks bill to pass. Overall, 81 percent of Americans support background checks.
Update: Pryor denounced the "disgusting" ad in a statement issued by his office on Friday, saying it did nothing to address the real problem -- mental health.
"Mayor Bloomberg’s attack ad politicizes the death of my friend by misleading people into thinking that his bill would have prevented Bill Gwatney’s tragic death," Pryor said. "The fact is it wouldn’t have, which makes Mayor Bloomberg’s ad even more disgusting."