Capitol Alert

Gavin Newsom targets NRA; opponents feature transgender woman

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, pressing for a ballot measure on guns and ammunition, has criticized the NRA.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, pressing for a ballot measure on guns and ammunition, has criticized the NRA. Sacramento Bee file

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and critics of his fall gun-control measure are up with dueling online ads, framing a statewide debate with national ramifications.

Newsom, in his spot released Thursday, features news footage of seven mass shootings, from San Bernardino and Isla Vista in California, to Sandy Hook, Charleston and Orlando, where 49 people were killed and more than 50 injured at Pulse, a gay nightclub.

“We have the ability to do something about it,” Newsom says in the ad. “To protect our families. To protect our communities.”

He also directly confronts the National Rifle Association, telling the group that while it may “intimidate politicians ... you can’t intimidate the public.”

The threat of violence is at the center of web ads produced by the Coalition for Civil Liberties, the group opposing Newsom’s measure. Both ads include women, one of them transgender, being approached by an assailant in a parking lot.

When the women draw their handguns and try to shoot the attackers, their efforts are foiled by an unloaded pistol. A warning appears on the screen: “Take Away Our Rights, Take Away Our Life.”

Among the main components of Newsom’s measure is a provision requiring background checks for ammunition sales, which opponents say is another way of putting hurdles before law-abiding citizens.

The spots are designed to show that “women as well as the LGBT community are some of the most vulnerable and the ones who need their self-protection the most,” said Brad Chase, a spokesman for the coalition of gun rights, law enforcement, victims rights and minority advocacy groups.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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