Under the Dome

Giffords’ group buys gun-control TV ads

The gun-control nonprofit group formed by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, has made a six-figure TV ad buy opposing repealing the current background checks for handgun purchase permits conducted by county sheriffs in North Carolina.

A pair of ads by Americans for Responsible Solutions began airing this week on broadcast and cable in the Triangle encouraging viewers to call their lawmakers to oppose that provision in House Bill 562, which is a hodgepodge of legislation generally loosening firearm restrictions.

The ad features former longtime Wilson County sheriff Wayne Gay.

“This will make it easier for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns,” Gay says in the ad. “North Carolina sheriffs know that’s a terrible idea.”

The group has also launched a statewide digital campaign and an online petition. Spokesman Mark Prentice said the group is monitoring the bill’s progress and making plans for additional efforts.

The bill was scheduled to be heard on the House floor on Monday but was sent back to a committee, where representatives are trying to work out conflicts, mostly around the issue of doing away with sheriffs’ background checks. The national background check system doesn’t capture all the information that local sheriffs say they take into account. Bill supporters say it is redundant.

The bill could be heard by the full House as early as Wednesday afternoon.

This isn’t the first time Giffords and Kelly have mixed it up with Grass Roots North Carolina, the gun-rights group that supports the bill. In 2013, the couple appeared at a pair of Triangle events whose locations were not publicly disclosed ahead of time.

Grass Roots offered 100 rounds of ammunition to anyone who could identify the shooting range that Kelly would visit. Giffords was among 13 who were wounded, and six others were killed, in a meeting in her home state of Arizona in 2011.