A new campaign aimed at opposing a California gun control measure is targeting LGBT voters and women in the state.
Running under the slogan “Take Away Our Rights, Take Away Our Life,” advertisements show a woman walking to her car in a darkened parking garage. As she gets her keys out of her purse, a shadowy figure sneaks up from behind to rob her. As the two struggle, the woman grabs a gun from her bag and attempts to shoot her assailant. The problem is that the gun isn’t loaded.
Following the current 35-second TV spot, an identical version will air on Wednesday, as Time magazine reports. The only difference is that the second incarnation will feature a transgender person.
The campaign is being sponsored by the Coalition for Civil Liberties, a group affiliated with the NRA, and Richard Grenell, a Log Cabin Republican, who used to serve as the foreign affairs spokesman for Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential bid. He was famously forced to step down from the position following controversial comments he made on Twitter about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s appearance and First Lady Michelle Obama’s use of “slang.”
Grennell spoke with Time about gun control in California, which he believes “tramples on personal freedoms."
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who previously served as the mayor of San Francisco, is pushing a bill known as “Safety For All,” which would require stricter background checks on guns purchased in the state. The legislation would also “ban possession of large-capacity rifle magazines, require gun owners to notify police when their weapons are lost or stolen, and enact rules for courts to confiscate guns from criminals who are prohibited from possessing them,” as the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Newsom has called the bill, which is backed by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and the California Democratic Party, a “historic opportunity to recapture our leadership nationwide on this issue.”
“With 150 school shootings since Newtown and many more mass shootings devastating communities across our state and nation, it is time to say enough is enough,” Newsom said.
This legislation is a key component of Newsom’s planned run for the governorship in 2018, and Grennell believes “Safety For All” will backfire. “Gavin is losing the traditional Democrat coalitions like women, the working class, and the LGBT community who are challenging the progressive idea that the government should be the center of our lives,” he argued.
Another group against “Safety for All” is the Pink Pistols, a nationwide pro-gun LGBT group. Gwen Patton, who serves as the spokesperson for the organization, told Fox News in 2014 that gun rights are crucial to the safety of LGBT people. “If someone tries to attack us, we can defend ourselves,” Patton said. “Ideally we don’t want any altercation at all, but if there is a perception that the gay person on the street could have a concealed gun, it might make the perpetrator think twice.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about recognizing that the government shouldn’t be taking our rights away,” she continued, “our rights to be armed, and our rights to be happy and with the person we love.”
On the Pink Pistols website, the group puts its mission statement more succinctly: “Armed queers don’t get bashed.”
In addition to the vocal opposition from conservative LGBT groups, the National Rifle Association itself has spoken out against “Safety For All,” stating the organization’s intent to block the bill’s passage. Amy Hunter, a spokeswoman for the powerful pro-gun lobby group, told the Chronicle that the lieutenant governor “would like to see guns confiscated in California.”
“We will do everything in our power to put an end to this,” she said.
Watch the ad below.