Sensible TV watchers should see through the inflammatory ad now targeting Pennsylvania’s Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.
Virginia-based National Association for Gun Rights is airing a smear campaign against Toomey over his support of gun background checks. Toomey, you see, co-sponsors Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va.’s bill to require background checks for all commercial gun sales, including online sales at gun shows and through classified ads. Current law requires background checks only on sales conducted by federally licensed gun dealers. So they’re comparing Toomey with … President Barack Obama and former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.
Typical of one-issue voters, the pro-gun lobby is using scare tactics to try to get viewers to link Toomey, a conservative Republican, with the IRS scandal, the NSA snooping scandal, even the terrorist attack on Benghazi. Of course none of these issues has anything to do with gun-purchase background checks, but because they’re challenges to Obama, and Obama also supports expanding gun background checks, NAGR is lumping everything together to paint Toomey as a liberal, hand-in-glove with the president. They’re likening him to his predecessor, longtime Sen. Specter, for most of his career a Republican but who often crossed party lines to get things done.
It’s one thing to attack leaders for their position and argue the merits of that issue. It’s another to use unconnected scandals and outright political fear-mongering to muddy the position Toomey made by using his observations and his brain. Toomey and other principled elected officials were looking at ways to prevent firearm massacres like the one that claimed the lives of 20 children last December at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.
The gun-sales industry, the National Rifle Association and other groups, including NAGR, are going into full gear in their attack ads. That’s a shame. They portray Toomey as attempting to strip law-abiding gun owners of their coveted weapons. Thanks to such extremism, sensible gun policy seems as elusive as ever.
Cooler heads should prevail in the gun debate. Everyone should support efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.