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Ad Watch: NRA ‘A’ rated Virginia State Senator Siobhan Dunnavant Pretends to Support Gun Violence Prevention in Absurd New TV Ad

October 10, 2019

In the TV Ad, Dunnavant Says She Supports a “Federal Ban on Bump Stocks,” Even Though She Voted Against Banning Bump Stocks in Virginia Senate

Dunnavant Says “As a Mother, I Believe in Action,” But After Virginia Beach Mass Shooting She Voted to Block Background Checks on All Gun Sales and Red Flag Legislation

NEW YORK — In a new TV ad this week, NRA ‘A’ rated Virginia State Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (SD-12) is pretending to support gun violence prevention measures in a blatant effort to mislead voters about her actual record of opposing gun safety legislation in the Virginia General Assembly. Recent polling has found gun policy to be the top issue among Virginia voters ahead of next month’s election.

In the ad (watch here), Senator Dunnavant says, “I supported a federal ban on bump stocks.” In reality, she voted against banning bump stocks when the measure came up for a vote in the State Senate.

Seeming to invoke the name of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety — the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization — Dunnavant closes the ad by saying, “as a mother, I believe in action.” However, when it came time to take action after the Virginia Beach mass shooting, Senator Dunnavant voted to end the special session to address gun violence after just 90 minutes, blocking legislation to require background checks on all gun sales and a red flag law, among other measures.

“NRA ‘A’ rated politician Siobhan Dunnavant failed the Commonwealth this summer, when she got in line with all the other Republican Senators and voted to block common-sense laws like background checks on all gun sales,” said Debra Rodman, Senator Dunnavant’s opponent. “Siobhan Dunnavant had a chance to keep our communities safe — instead, she stood with the NRA. She knows her record of blocking common-sense gun laws is unacceptable, that’s why she’s blatantly misleading voters in our district.”

“Let’s be blunt: Senator Siobhan Dunnavant is an NRA ‘A’ rated politician who is pretending to support common-sense gun safety laws because she thinks it will help her get reelected,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Voters will not fall for it, and won’t forget that when she had the chance to do something after the Virginia Beach mass shooting, Senator Dunnavant voted to block common-sense gun laws like background checks on all gun sales. Voters in Richmond will instead elect Debra Rodman, a proven gun sense champion who will vote to protect Virginians from gun violence.”

“It is insulting that Senator Dunnavant, with her NRA ‘A’ rating, would suggest that she’s part of the gun violence prevention movement after voting to block legislation to require background checks on all gun sales after the Virginia Beach shooting,” said Courtney Champion, a Richmond-area volunteer leader with Virginia Moms Demand Action. “Senator Dunnavant has had more than enough opportunities to address Virginia’s gun violence crisis — Instead, she has consistently sided with the gun lobby, putting our safety at risk. For the next month, real gun violence prevention advocates will do everything they can to replace Senator Dunnavant with Debra Rodman, an actual gun sense champion who will pass legislation to keep us safe.”

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund has endorsed Senator Dunnavant’s opponent, Debra Rodman, in the race for Virginia’s 12th Senate District, donated $5,000 to her campaign, and contributed another $50,000 to her campaign to help air a gun safety-themed TV ad that contrasts Rodman’s strong support for gun safety with Senator Dunnavant’s record of blocking common-sense gun measures in the General Assembly. Senator Dunnavant has an A-rating from the NRA and has also taken $1,000 in NRA money.

Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund’s previously announced electoral work in Virginia’s 2019 elections includes:

  • A commitment to spend $2.5 million in Virginia’s 2019 elections.
  • Launching a $550,000 digital ad offensive in 15 Republican-held districts.
  • Contributing $100,000 to Missy Cotter Smasal’s campaign in Virginia’s 8th Senate District, $50,000 to Debra Rodman’s campaign for Virginia’s 12th Senate District, $100,000 to Sheila Bynum-Coleman’s campaign in Virginia’s 66th House District and $75,000 to John Bell’s campaign in Virginia’s 13th Senate District to help air each candidate’s gun safety-themed TV ads. The ad buys totaled $600,000.
  • Endorsing 25 candidates — 22 running in the most competitive districts in the commonwealth — and making $113,000 in direct contributions to endorsed candidates.
  • Contributing $125,000 to the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, $100,000 to the Virginia House Democratic Caucus and $100,000 to Take the Majority (Democratic Party of Virginia).
  • Launching $135,000 in digital ads in 14 Republican-held Virginia state-House and Senate districts.
  • Unveiling results of a battleground message poll, which found gun safety to be a top issue among voters in swing areas of Virginia.

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