With one month left before the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, gun laws remain one of the top issues facing the country.
The economy is, without a doubt, the most significant issue, but it’s followed by a number of topics with mixed implications. Roughly half of the voters say abortion and gun violence are “extremely” important to them when casting their ballots this year, two topics that could help the Democratic Party in November.
A New York Times survey says nearly 90 percent of voters felt that gun laws are a significant problem. Another top issue that concerns voters is the crime rate.
So what are politicians doing about it?
They are increasing spending on gun ads. Especially, the Republican candidates.
After the Uvalde, Texas school shooting earlier this year that left 19 kids and two teachers dead, Republicans have been much more likely than Democrats to use messaging about guns to energize their base in the midterm elections.
According to the New York Times, Republican candidates and their support groups have published more than 100 TV ads that have featured guns. In one campaign advertisement in Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey showed off her lipstick, iPhone, and a gun.
A former Republican candidate Kandiss Taylor running for governor of Georgia proclaimed she believes in “Jesus, guns, and babies.”
In another advertisement, in a House primary in Ohio, the Air Force veteran J.R. Majewski is shown carrying a rifle, saying, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to restore this country to its previous grandeur” before pulling the trigger.
According to an analysis of data from the Democratic Party’s affiliated groups and candidates, less than twenty television advertisements have mentioned weapons or preventing gun violence since January.
However, pro-gun control organizations are using the airwaves to support candidates in competitive Senate races.
In Colorado, the Giffords PAC, a nonprofit group connected to former Representative Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, who was shot and critically injured in Arizona in 2011 while serving in Congress, has released a new advertisement. The campaign commercial accuses Republican candidate Joe O’Dea of backing the pro-gun lobby.
“Here in Colorado, we’ve suffered the pain of gun violence so many times, but Joe O’Dea sides with the gun lobby, not us,” the ad’s narrator claims.
According to NBC News, the Giffords PAC has reserved an additional $2 million in airtime through election day despite having already spent over $360,000 on the radio in that state’s Senate contest.
Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund, is spending $1 million to air a new commercial in Wisconsin criticizing Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s position on firearms.
The difference shows how much Republicans could stand to gain more support by talking about firearms in primaries than the Democrats. With all that in mind, gun control will certainly be on the ballot in November and in many parts of the nation, guns will be at the forefront of the 2022 midterm elections.