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April 1, 2013

HOWEY: Political gun battle comes to Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — Four months after the horrific Newtown massacre and five months after Indiana witnessed a $51 million U.S. Senate race, the political TV ads have returned.

Viewers in the Indianapolis TV market are witnessing what those in 12 others states are — an actor wearing a plaid shirt, sitting on the tailgate of his pickup truck, his finger on the trigger — telling us that while he's a hunter, our Second Amendment rights come with “responsibilities.”

The ads come from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Independence USA PAC. The billionaire mayor is becoming then financial bookend to the National Rifle Association, and their targets are U.S. Sens. Dan Coats, the Republican, and Joe Donnelly, the Democrat. The goal is to get the two senators to commit to expanded background checks that would include the plethora of gun shows that occur in Indiana.

Bloomberg announced the ad campaign by Mayors Against Illegal Guns on Saturday, just days after Senate Democrats touted stronger background checks while acknowledging insufficient support to a ban of assault-style weapons.

“While I think we are going to win this, celebrating in advance isn't the right thing to do,” the mayor said on NBC's “Meet the Press” last Sunday. “We've got to go out, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. But I don't think we should give up on the assault-weapons ban. But clearly, it is a more difficult issue for a lot of people I don't know that reflects the NRA's power. It may be just that people have different views about assault weapons than they do about background checks. Ninety percent of the people want background checks, period.”

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre called Bloomberg's rhetoric on gun reform “reckless” and “insane” when he appeared on  Meet the Press. “He's going to find out that this is a country of the people, by the people and for the people and he can't spend enough of his [money] to try to impose his will on the American public.”

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