A Pennsylvania Democratic House candidate in the PA-1 district—formerly PA-8—advocated for new gun-control laws in a new ad and fundraising email sent on Tuesday.
Scott Wallace, the leading candidate in the Democratic primary, released an ad titled "Gun Reform" this week that called for a ban on certain rifles and ammunition magazines as well as banning private sales of used guns unless they're conducted through a licensed gun dealer. In the ad, Wallace slams prayers and condolences offered in the wake of shootings as well as President Trump's proposal to allow teachers to carry firearms in school.
"Prayers and condolences don't mean a thing if we don't take action to protect our kids," Wallace said in the ad. "Donald Trump's idea to arm teachers is idiotic. We must ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines and stop guns from getting into the hands of the mentally ill."
Wallace specifically singled out the AR-15, the most popular rifle in the United States with tens of millions in civilian hands, as being used to "slaughter our kids." He incorrectly labels the semiautomatic-only AR-15 rifle as an assault rifle even though the Defense Intelligence Agency classifies assault rifles as being capable of fully automatic fire.
Wallace, who was accused of violating federal campaign finance law in another ad, sent a fundraising email in connection with the new gun-control ad. In the email he accused Trump, the National Rifle Association, and his Republican opponent Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of caring more about the "gun lobby" than kids.
"Donald Trump, Brian Fitzpatrick, and their friends at the NRA won't like the new television ad we're putting on the airwaves, but I don't care if it pisses them off," Wallace said in the email. "We need leaders with a backbone who will stand up to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and who will stop guns from getting into the hands of people with mental illness by requiring universal background checks. If you're angry at the politicians in Washington, D.C., who protect the gun lobby instead of our kids, then I urge you to watch this video and share it with your friends to spread the word about our campaign."
Wallace went further, decrying that politicians had "spent the last two decades making it easier, instead of harder, for weapons of war to get into the hands of people who shouldn't have them." He called it "idiotic" and promised if he was elected to "stand up to Donald Trump and the NRA."
The National Republican Congressional Committee accused Wallace of fundraising off tragedy.
"Leave it to a Washington insider like Scott Wallace to politicize a tragedy in a desperate attempt to fund his far-left campaign," Chris Martin, a spokesman for the committee, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Wallace, who grew up in Pennsylvania but lived the last several decades in South Africa and Washington, D.C., has given his own campaign nearly a million dollars in loans and raised an additional $195,000. He has also spent more than $250,000 on ads and mailers making him the leading fundraiser and spender in the Democratic field, according to the Intelligencer.
Wallace currently has nearly $700,000 on hand for his campaign but trails Fitzpatrick, who just raised about $500,000 and has about $1.4 million on hand.
The Wallace campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on where the ad would run or how much they planned to spend on it.