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Gun Safety Group Creates New Ad Calling for Assault Weapons Ban

A gun safety group has created a new ad campaign calling for the renewal of a federal assault weapons ban after several devastating mass shootings that involved the use of military-style rifles, The Guardian reports. The ad, released on Thursday by the gun safety group Brady features a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War reading a chilling account of coming under gunfire and being struck by a bullet. “I remember someone picking me up as they ran. They put me down on the floor and covered me with blankets,” the veteran says. “Someone was screaming – took me a moment to realize it was me. But I survived.” The veteran reveals that the writer was not a fellow service member but Josh Stepakoff, who was six years old when a mass shooter attacked his Jewish community center in 1999. The ad ends with the message, “Assault weapons belong in war zones, not our communities. Ban assault weapons.” The campaign includes images showing a casket draped in an American flag, an honor given to soldiers killed in battle, in everyday places that have been the site of mass shootings, such as schools and grocery stores. “These weapons and their tactical features are designed for the battlefield and not for civilian hands,” said Christian Heyne of Brady. “These are not scenarios that exist in the rest of the industrialized world. This ad is really attempting to sort of tell that story in a powerful way.”

According to a Politico-Morning Consult poll in late January, 65% of U.S. voters support banning assault-style weapons while 26% oppose it. Heyne suggested that the ad could help viewers better understand the very real ramifications of this policy debate. Brady’s push for the renewal of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, comes just weeks after another school shooting devastated a community and reinvigorated calls for action to address gun violence. Last month, a shooter wielding an AR-15 military-style rifle attacked the Covenant school in Nashville, killing three children and three adults. The shooting prompted President Biden once again to call on Congress for a federal assault weapons ban. “We’ve continued to see Republican officials across America double down on dangerous bills that make our schools, places of worship, and communities less safe,” Biden said. “Congress must ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require safe storage of firearms, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and require background checks for all gun sales, and state officials must do the same.” Gun safety advocates hope to see action at the federal level, citing data suggesting an assault weapons ban could help make mass shootings less deadly and may even prevent them.

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