Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, has made tougher gun control laws a central promise of her campaign, pushing hard to expand background checks and prohibit gun sales to those suspected of terrorist ties — all in the name of public safety.
 
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But the NRA, the nation's largest and most powerful gun lobbyist group, said Clinton's agenda would backfire and empower criminals by restricting guns for law-abiding people at the expense of personal protection.
 
“The Second Amendment is on the ballot this November and the individual right to own a firearm of your choosing for self-protection is at stake," NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said Wednesday in a statement accompanying the ad announcement. 
 
Sponsored by the NRA's political arm, the hard-hitting 30-second ad features a rape victim, Kimberly Corban, who was assaulted at gunpoint as a college student in 2006.
 
"The thought of owning a handgun terrified me, until one morning a stranger broke into my apartment and raped me," Corban says. "He had evil in his eyes, and I was helpless. My fear of firearms disappeared when I got my second chance at life.
 
"Self-defense is your right," she adds. "Don't let it be taken away."
 
The ad will air nationally on cable channels across the nation, with additional runs in battleground areas.
 
Announced Wednesday evening, the timing of the ads was likely no coincidence. The Democrats nominated Clinton as their presidential nominee Tuesday, and the Democratic National Convention lineup featured a long list of gun-control reform advocates, including the mothers of shooting victims and police officers calling for tougher laws to keep the streets safe. 
 
Rounding out that message was Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who, as founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has emerged as one of the fiercest advocates for gun-control reform in the country.
 
Clinton had pushed hard for tougher gun laws through the Democratic primary, both in response to a rash of gun violence around the country and as a campaign strategy for attacking her opponent, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (I-Vt.), who has a mixed record on the issue. 
 
Clinton and the Democrats are also vowing to take their aggressive reform push into the general election, viewing it as a political advantage in light of public opinion polls showing overwhelming support for the changes they've championed.
 
Republican opponents of those reforms have not suffered at the polls in recent cycles, despite those survey results. But the Democrats are hoping a heightened awareness of the issue will translate into gains at the polls in November.
 
"For a long time … people have been afraid of the gun lobby," Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) said Monday in Philadelphia. "We're changing that this year."
 
The NRA is predicting differently. The group is warning that Clinton would not only undermine the Second Amendment through policy; she might also appoint judges who would champion those same reforms, including potential replacements on the Supreme Court.
 
“If Clinton is elected, she will surely nominate judges hostile to the Second Amendment," Baker said. "This election is not about the next four years when it comes to gun rights — it’s about the next 40 years.”