Progressive group launches ad attacking McConnell on gun control

The ad, launched by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, features Kentuckian Rodney Kendrick addressing the camera with his grandson on his lap, calling it "unthinkable that guns meant for war could be used on civilians and children."

"As a gun owner and a veteran, I support the plan to ban assault weapons and keep guns out of the wrong hands, because I know these guns. I know what they can do," he says.

The ad closes with Kendrick asking: "Senator McConnell, whose side are you on?"

It's backed by a $27,700 buy and is running on broadcast and cable in  Louisville and Lexington, and on cable in Washington, D.C.

And the PCCC commissioned polling from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling that indicates Kentuckians do want to see movement on gun control, despite McConnell's outspoken opposition to the measures proposed by President Obama.

Eighty-two percent of the likely Kentucky voters polled support background checks "to keep guns out of the wrong hands," with only 13 percent opposing.

There is less consensus, however, on banning assault weapons; 50 percent of likely Kentucky voters polled support a ban, while 42 percent oppose one.

An overwhelming 64 percent of those polled own guns.

McConnell has been a staunch opponent of gun control, issuing a fundraising email pledging to block the expansion of any gun-control measures. He could be facing a challenge from either the right or left going into 2014, and opposition to gun-control measures is one way in which he can guard against a contested primary.

But the PCCC seems to be banking on a belief that the gun-control issue, especially at a time when it's at the forefront of the national conversation, could be a winner for Democrats in Kentucky.