8 Democratic presidential candidates advocate for gun safety in new video

Sanders, Warren and other rivals partner with Giffords on series of ads highlighting gun safety in America

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is one of the eight Democratic presidential candidates who appear in an ad from former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ organization’s Gun Safety President ad campaign. (Giffords via YouTube)

Eight of the top Democratic presidential candidates are appearing in a series of videos on gun safety. Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ namesake gun control group, Giffords, launched the video series on Monday.

The candidates in the video series include former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; California Sen. Kamala Harris; former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The launch video features the candidates focusing on stronger gun laws to prevent school shootings.

During the 2017-18 school year, roughly 4.1 million students experienced at least one school lockdown, according to a Washington Post analysis from last year.

“Our kids deserve to be safe at school. Who is your #GunSafetyPresident?” the video asks.

“Our Gun Safety President campaign frames a critical and historic choice for our nation. We can continue with the corrupt leadership of Donald Trump, who has taken millions from the NRA while opposing gun safety policies — or we can forge a new path and elect a gun safety president who’s willing to stand up to the gun lobby and protect our kids and communities from gun violence,” Giffords, who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in 2011, said in a statement Monday.

“This campaign will give Americans a closer look at just how committed the candidates running against Trump are in the fight to save lives,” she said.

The pro-gun National Rifle Association’s outside spending dropped significantly last cycle amid sagging membership dues and other financial struggles. The group spent $9.2 million on the 2018 midterms, compared with $54.4 million in the 2016 cycle and $27 million in the 2014 cycle, according to campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets.

But the NRA is still the No. 1 bogeyman for the burgeoning collection of progressive gun control groups that outspent the NRA and other pro-gun groups in the 2018 midterms.

The video series with the Democratic presidential candidates is “an extensive effort by Giffords to elevate gun safety as a voting issue in the primary and frame the general election as a referendum on gun safety,” Giffords, the group, said in its news release Monday.

Giffords and another gun control group, March For Our Lives, are hosting a presidential candidate forum on gun violence in Las Vegas on Oct. 2.

The Giffords ad series launches as Congress returns from its August recess amid calls to address gun violence in the wake of multiple mass shootings last month.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York sent a letter to Trump on Sunday calling for him to stand up to the NRA, saying he has an “historic opportunity to save lives.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has weathered criticism that he has blocked Democratic House legislation on gun violence from receiving floor votes.

The Kentucky Republican said last week that whether he puts a bill on the docket for a vote depends on whether Trump would sign it.

“The administration is in the process of studying what they’re prepared to support, if anything, and I expect to get an answer to that next week,” McConnell said.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.