Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff has released dueling Senate campaign ads: One in which he declares his support for the Second Amendment and another that dodges the issue altogether.
Both ads, which began running in September, open with the candidate wearing the same suit while saying "nothing is more important than keeping Georgians safe" before he claims not to support defunding the police. They both end on the same claim that Ossoff will "rebuild trust between communities and law enforcement." The second version of the ad, which is airing in the more liberal Atlanta metro area, cuts Ossoff's promise to "defend our Second Amendment."
Ossoff supports bans on "high-capacity" ammunition magazines and popular rifles like the AR-15. He has an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association. Ossoff isn't the only gun-control supporter who has dodged the issue in the closing weeks of the 2020 campaign. Everytown for Gun Safety, which has endorsed the Georgia Democrat, ran an ad campaign in five swing states that attacked Republicans on health care but avoided the gun issues. The gun-control group has also run ads in Georgia that fail to mention gun control.
Ossoff's ad campaign comes as gun sales have been at record levels in Georgia and nationwide for more than six months. Industry estimates suggest there are nearly seven-and-a-half million new gun owners since March. Those new owners could have a significant impact on upcoming elections.
Ossoff's campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Sen. David Perdue's (R., Ga.) campaign accused Ossoff of pandering to liberal donors, while lying to Georgia voters.
"Clearly Ossoff thought he could get away with telling metro Atlanta voters one thing while telling the rest of the state the exact opposite," Perdue spokesman John Burke told the Washington Free Beacon. "If Ossoff is willing to mislead voters about an issue as consequential as our basic constitutional rights, what else is he lying about?"
In trying to be the first Georgia Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate since 2000, Ossoff will have to turn out a significant vote in metro Atlanta while offsetting Republican gains in the rest of the state. Perdue, who opposes the bans Ossoff supports and has an "A" rating from the NRA, holds a small lead in polling averages in a race that is critical to Senate control.