Gun control advocates say Republican presidential candidates should be asked during Thursday night's debate how they would respond to the recent string of mass shootings.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says it has one question for the GOP field: “What would you do as president to stop gun violence?”
“From the victims of gun violence down to the gun lobby, every person in America has a vested interest in how the candidates answer this question,” the group's president, Dan Gross, said in a statement. “Not asking this question would be a tremendous failure by the moderators whose job it is to get answers that inform voters as they decide who will be our nation’s next leader.”
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The Brady Campaign, along with the gun safety groups founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are pressing the moderators to ask about gun violence.
Everytown for Gun Safety urged the moderators not to make this a "gun-free" debate.
"Make no mistake, more guns in more places is not the answer to our nation's gun violence problem," said Everytown spokeswoman Erika Soto Lamb.
Their push follows mass shootings in South Carolina, Tennessee and Louisiana that have given new momentum to gun safety advocates who are hoping to expand background checks.
Background checks are required for most gun sales, except those made online or at gun shows.
Gun safety advocates have blamed background check loopholes for some of the recent shootings.
They point to a CBS News Poll released earlier this week that found 88 percent of Americans — including 81 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of Democrats — say a background check should be required before every gun sale.
“Our hope is that each contender for the office of president of the United States make clear how they would and wouldn’t address this problem, so that voters can decide who best represents them,” said Mark Prentice, spokesman for Americans for Responsible Solutions.
“Ignoring the all-too-obvious problem of gun violence in our country certainly doesn’t show the leadership needed to be president,” Prentice added.