Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the anti-gun violence group spearheaded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, released a new ad Tuesday disputing a claim by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) that she supports background checks.
The ad, titled "False Alibi," features Scott Knight, a police chief and longtime advocate for stricter regulations and gun safety. Knight says some senators who voted against the bipartisan bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) are nevertheless claiming they voted for legislation to strengthen background checks, a reference to an amendment that Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) put forth as an alternative.
"Senator Ayotte uses her vote for this law as an alibi to claim she is tough on crime," Knight says in the ad.
"Don't be fooled," he adds. "She voted to kill comprehensive background checks, making us less safe. That's a fact."
The Manchin-Toomey amendment, which failed to pass the Senate in April, would have expanded background checks to gun shows and Internet sales. The Grassley-Cruz amendment would not have expanded background checks but focused instead on improving enforcement of the current system. Ayotte has nonetheless cited her vote in favor of the Grassley-Cruz amendment as evidence that she supports background checks.
A spokesman for Ayotte did not immediately return a request for comment on the ad.
The New Hampshire senator has in many ways been the face of the backlash following the gun bill's failure. Her approval ratings plunged shortly after the vote, and a confrontation between Ayotte and the daughter of the slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal garnered national attention.
Ayotte has also been the target of prior ads by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Americans for Responsible Solutions, the anti-gun violence group started by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband.
The American Future Fund, a Republican non-profit group, put out its own ad defending Ayotte for her vote. That ad was criticized for presenting Republican activists as average New Hampshire citizens. The National Rifle Association has also run ads in Ayotte's defense, thanking her for her vote.