February 22, 2013

Another gun ad targets Susan Collins

Organizing for Action wants Maine's Republican senator to close loopholes in background checks.

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

Another national advertising campaign is focusing on U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, in an effort to pressure selected Republicans in the gun-control debate.

click image to enlarge

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, greets Bath Iron Works supervisor Chris Comora on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, as she and Sen. Angus King toured the shipbuilding plant.

Photo courtesy of BIW/Dennis Griggs

Related headlines

Organizing for Action, an advocacy group that emerged from President Obama's re-election team, bought an ad Friday on a Bangor newspaper's website.

The ad reads, "Tell Senator Collins: It's time to close background check loopholes," and links to a short version of Obama's gun-reform plan.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Collins is one of 13 Republican lawmakers the group is targeting with the campaign that began Friday.

A day earlier, the National Rifle Association bought a full-page print ad in the Bangor Daily News, reading "Will Obama's gun control proposals actually work?"

The next line reads: "His own experts say 'No.' "

Collins and Sen. Angus King of Maine were named in the ad.

An NRA spokeswoman told the Portland Press Herald that the ad was meant to "educate and inform voters in Maine."

Collins, who will be up for re-election in 2014, recently got a C+ score from the association, a low mark for a Republican.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Organizing for Action's ads went online the same day it launched its first national mobilization, "a day of action featuring 100 events around the country aimed at demonstrating support for Obama's gun violence reduction plan."

One part of the plan calls for universal background checks for gun purchases.

A spokeswoman for the group didn't return an email Friday.

In his State of the Union address on Feb. 12, Obama said the majority of Americans support background checks that "will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun."

Right now, people who buy guns from licensed dealers must go through federal background checks but those who buy at gun shows or in private sales don't.

In 1999, Collins voted against requiring background checks at gun shows.

A recent Pew Research Center poll said 85 percent of respondents favor closing loopholes for private and gun-show sales.

Collins' office did not reply to a request for comment on her present stance on background checks at gun shows and in private sales.

In 2007, Collins voted for a law that made states report certain information that would disqualify some people from owning firearms to the U.S. Attorney General's Office.

She has said she supports instant background checks.

In a prepared statement Friday, spokesman Kevin Kelley said Collins says states can do better at "reporting felons and mentally ill individuals found to be a danger to themselves or others to the national background check database," while "she strongly opposes a national registry of gun owners, which is not consistent with our Second Amendment rights."

Kelley also said in the statement, "While she believes that we must find ways to reduce gun violence, she also thinks that denying the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens won't change the behavior of those intent on using firearms for criminal purposes.".

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com

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