Gun control advocates are trying to make the issue a voting one in key U.S. Senate races across the country, hoping the subject will help take down Republican candidates in states like New Hampshire and Florida.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was severely wounded by a gunman in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly are in the midst of a six-week, 14-state bus tour that includes stops in Florida, Ohio, Iowa and New Hampshire.
“In races up and down the ballot, 2016 is shaping up to be the year of gun safety,” said Kate Folmar, a spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group co-founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “The political calculus has changed, and we are seeing candidates at all levels of government embrace gun safety as an issue to run — and win — on.”
Gun control advocates are closely eyeing U.S. Senate races in New Hampshire and Florida, where incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Marco Rubio face tough re-election fights, and in Nevada, where Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is trying to hold the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Harry Reid.
But such single-issue groups also say they’re willing to support Republicans who are with them on the issue.
Mr. Bloomberg is supporting Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, through his Independence USA super PAC, and the political arm of Ms. Giffords’ gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, endorsed both Mr. Toomey and Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican.