A gun-safety group funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending big to weigh in one of the many Virginia Senate races that could decide who will control the state's divided legislative body. Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control nonprofit, will spend $700,000 on ads featuring the father of a Roanoke TV reporter gunned down in August to increase support for Democrat Dan Gecker, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.
The ad, scheduled for a Thursday launch, opens with Andy Parker talking into the camera. He eventually says that while all gun violence can’t come to an end, loopholes that allow guns in the hands of those who shouldn't have them should be closed, according to the Washington Post.
“My daughter, Alison, and her cameraman were gunned down on live television,” Parker says in the ad. “I know we can’t stop all gun violence, but we can save lives if our leaders take action.”
Parker’s daughter, Alison Parker, was shot along with WDBJ-TV cameraman by a former colleague, Vester Flanagan, who bought the gun he used to kill them through a licensed dealer. The ad specifically targets Gecker’s Republican opponent Glen Sturtevant. Both men are fighting for a seat being vacated by a retiring state senator. The ad says if Sturtevant is in office, Virginia will be less safe.
Sturtevant is supported by the National Rifle Association, who has contributed more than $50,000 to his campaign, according to the Times-Dispatch. Sturtevant’s campaign said in response to the ad that the Republican wants to make sure existing state and federal gun laws are enforced and that a better job needs to be done to identify and treat mental illness.
Bloomberg gun safety group bankrolls huge ad buy in critical Va. Senate race https://t.co/1zYrjGyTcD
— howard wolfson (@howiewolf) October 21, 2015
The $700,000 buy is almost as much as Sturtevant's campaign has raised to date. Gecker has taken in about $1.2 million for his campaign. Bloomberg has been a longtime advocate for gun control and has spent millions on the gun control movement, according to the New York Times.