Gun-Control Group Dodges Guns in Swing State Attack Ads

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund ignores guns to press health care in key states

Everytown for Gun Safety founder Michael Bloomberg / Getty Images
September 28, 2020

The nation's largest gun-control group dodged guns entirely in a new swing state ad campaign that abandons the group's core issue to focus on health care.

Documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, supported in large part by donations from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, is funding ads that assail Republicans on health care rather than gun control. The ads target state-level politicians in PennsylvaniaIowaNorth CarolinaArizona, and Minnesota. The postcard-style ads, copies of which are posted to the back end of the group's website, have nearly identical wording.

In an ad against state representative Andrew Lewis (R.), the group accused him of helping to "take health care away from Pennsylvanians" but makes no mention of guns.

Everytown has largely avoided Second Amendment issues when trying to woo voters in swing states. The group minimized gun control in attack ads aimed at Republican senators running for reelection in Iowa and North Carolina earlier this month. The decision indicates Everytown has determined issues like health care and energy production are more persuasive to swing-state voters—many of whom may have recently become gun owners—according to J. Miles Coleman, associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"It looks like they've made the calculation that emphasizing health care, as opposed to gun control, is a better way to get Democrats elected to those seats," Coleman told the Free Beacon.

Everytown did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the ads.

"To me, it just looks like they see health care as a more effective issue for the moment," Coleman said. "If Everytown can help replace Republicans with Democrats, it's likely those new Democrats will vote with the rest of their caucus to support its legislative priorities."

The National Rifle Association, which has only run gun-related ads thus far in the 2020 election, slammed Everytown's health care ads as misleading.

"This Bloomberg-funded organization knows Americans don't want gun control and are less likely to vote for candidates who promise to impose it," Amy Hunter, an NRA spokeswoman, told the Free Beacon. "That is why they have to engage in tactics like this—and also bribe felons to vote—to get their gun-control candidates elected. They hope these tactics will fool swing state voters but we hope voters will see right through their deception."