Mayors’ group to air Super Bowl ad pushing for background checks

The pro-gun control group Mayors Against Illegal Guns will air an advertisement during the Super Bowl pressing lawmakers to institute universal background checks on firearm sales.

The 30-second spot will air in the Washington, D.C. area during the Sunday game on CBS, during the third-quarter break after halftime, the group announced in a statement late Saturday.

The ad, titled “It’s Time” opens with images of children, while “America the Beautiful” plays in the background. “The NRA once supported background checks,” a child’s voice says.

The ad then features footage of National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre testifying before Congress in 1999. 

“We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show, no loopholes anywhere for anyone,” LaPierre says in the excerpted clip.

“America can do this for us, please,” the narrator concludes.

The group, which was founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I), a high-profile backer of gun control, said in a statement that the ad would show how “the gun lobby has changed its position despite support for this common-sense reform from more than 80 percent of gun owners and more than 90 percent of Americans.”

A spokesman for Bloomberg said that the ad cost in the six-figure range, according to a report from the Associated Press. 

The ad comes as lawmakers are weighing new measures to stem violent crime in the wake of December’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. 

President Obama has signed a number of executive actions to strengthen enforcement of current gun laws, and has also pressed lawmakers to pass bans on assault weapon and high-capacity ammunition sales and institute mandatory background checks. But the NRA is opposing such measures, arguing that they will do little to stem gun crime while infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week held hearings, featuring testimony from a number of supporters and opponents of tighter firearm restrictions. Among those who testified were LaPierre and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt in 2011. Giffords implored lawmakers to act quickly, in her dramatic surprise appearance.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has said he hopes to mark up legislation by the month’s end, but any gun-control bill would face tough opposition from the NRA and from GOP lawmakers.