Congressman Bill Young is among 16 GOP legislators being targeted by a pro-Obama advocacy group in a new online ad campaign urging them to back a more robust background check system for gun sales.
The banner ads begin running Friday on the websites of local news outlets. The ads, tailored with the photos and Twitter handle of each member of Congress, call on them to support universal background checks.
The online ad buy, which cost close to six figures, is the first such campaign by Organizing for Action, the month-old advocacy group formed by top advisors to President Obama to build momentum for his legislative agenda. The ads are going live the same day as the group launches its first national mobilization, a so-called day of action featuring 100 events around the country aimed at demonstrating support for Obama’s gun violence reduction plan.
As a 501(c)4 nonprofit social welfare group, OFA has said it will not engage in partisan political activity, but it has wide latitude as an issue advocacy organization to pressure elected officials on specific policy matters.
OFA officials said that although Friday’s events are focused on background checks, the group will hold future activities to rally support for the other planks of Obama’s gun control proposal, which include an assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines.
Background checks enjoy the highest level of public approval: in a number of surveys, support surpasses 90%.
But OFA’s efforts come before a background check bill has even been introduced in the Senate, where gun control measures have the best chance of success. Two Democrats — Charles E. Schumerof New York and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — are working to craft the bill with Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mark Kirk of Illinois. Negotiations have been painstaking, snagged by logistical questions of how to perform checks and maintain sales records for private gun transfers.
Material from the LA Times was used in this post.