WATCH: Shocking ad sparks debate about domestic violence and gun control

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Note: This video contains a scene of domestic violence.

WASHINGTON — The scene is intense: A man is ferociously knocking on a door while a woman inside the house calls 911, saying that her ex is trying to break in. A child sits on the couch.

The man bursts in and grabs the child, and the woman yells not to take the toddler. The man pulls out a gun. A shot rings out, and the screen goes black. A child cries out.

The violent domestic scenario is only a television ad from a gun control group, but it attempts to portray what some women face. It also depicts the next front in the gun control debate.

The ad, by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Everytown for Gun Safety, is airing in the District of Columbia and three states. It targets three Republican senators: Dean Heller of Nevada, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, lawmakers who have shown a willingness to back some sort of gun control or whose communities have faced a tragic mass shooting.

The focus on women and domestic violence comes after gun-control advocates gained little traction on efforts to tighten restrictions on gun ownership.

Public opinion on the issue is divided. A poll from December found that 50% of people are opposed to tighter gun-control laws, but 49% support them.

After the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 elementary school students and six staff members were killed, public opinion tipped to the side of gun control.

But under pressure from the National Rifle Association, Congress did not pass reforms that would have strengthened background checks for gun purchases.

The new advertisement was released Tuesday and is part of a campaign to link the potentially deadly combination of guns and domestic abuse.

The NRA, which opposes most efforts to restrict gun ownership, did not respond to a request for comment on the new campaign.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on the issue Wednesday and heard from Elvin Daniel, an NRA member and gun owner whose sister was killed by a domestic abuser.

“It has been nearly two years since Zina was murdered and it is heartbreaking to know that our weak gun laws continue to allow dangerous abusers to buy guns without background checks,” he said, choking back tears.

Gabrielle Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head during a mass shooting, is not expected to speak at the hearing, but she wrote an opinion piece on the issue.

“We urgently need stronger gun laws that protect women,” she wrote. “We can’t wait any longer. Women’s lives are at stake.”

Advocates point to statistics that show that 46 women are shot and killed by a current or former domestic partner each month and that more than half of women murdered are killed by their current or former partners.

Giffords wrote that more women were shot to death by an intimate partner between 2001 and 2012 than the number of soldiers killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Advocates also point to a recent incident in Texas in which police accused a man with a history of domestic violence of shooting and killing many of his estranged wife’s family members during a violent rampage.

“This is an area where we can really make progress and keep guns out of dangerous hands,” said Erika Soto Lamb, spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety.

They have gotten behind a bill by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota that would expand gun restrictions for abusive dating partners.

It currently applies only to married partners. The proposal would restrict guns from people who have been issued restraining orders.

George Mason University law professor Joyce Lee Malcolm told the hearing that “taking these guns without due process violates that fundamental right.”

In a statement, Ayotte pointed to her co-sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed in the Senate last year, but did not indicate whether she’d back Klobuchar’s bill.

17 comments

  • dapandico

    If she was armed she could deliver the tax payer relief shot. Gifford lived and nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green died. It is always about Gabby.

  • Anonymous

    That’s more of a pro-gun commercial if you ask me. You can either hide in the corner of your home while somebody assaults you and takes your children, or you can fight them off and stand a chance. Personally, I’m glad my wife has access to, and can shoot a gun. A home invader is in for a fight if he comes into our home…..we wont be cowering in the corner.

    • Jerry

      Yep a pro-gun commercial if I ever saw one. Message “Be a victim or protect your kids”

      911: “911 what’s your emergency?”
      Caller: “My ex-husband just kicked in the front door of my house. I was in fear for my life and the life of my child. I shot him in self-defense. Please send police.”

  • Craig Smith

    That was the dumbest thing i have ever seen. Now give the meek woman a gun and teach her how to use it and show that commercial. Come in this house and I will blow you away! And watch the guy walk away. Even if he started shooting at her she would STILL have a better chance if she was armed….How fricken stupid are you people!!!!

  • Anonymous

    So why didn’t she call 9-1-1 like all the libtards tell you to do? You don’t need a gun, just call the police and they’ll take care of the problem! Ohhhh, that’s right, you’re already dead by the time you can roust them out of Dunkin Donuts, guess you’re problem worked itself out.

  • Nick

    Best anti-gun control ad I have seen in awhile. If you listen closely there is a gem hidden inside:

    911 operator: Do you have a restraining order on him.
    Woman: Yes, help me!

    Well would you look at that! Since he is forbidden from possessing or buying a gun while there is a restraining order on him, and he was ordered to turn over his guns and didn’t, that gun in his hand is ILLEGAL. Yet the ad wants you to support more laws when no one bothered to actually enforce the one on the books that was meant to keep that gun from him in the first place.

    Lesson learned? Women, your crazy ex isn’t going to listen to the judge when he tells him to turn over his guns so don’t be stupid, protect yourself with your own gun.

    • Shootmyownfood

      I think you missed the point – many states DO NOT restrict gun ownership for persons who have a restraining order against them.

      • ANONYMOUS

        Wrong. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban is a federal law and applies to all 50 states. It prohibits gun ownership for those under a restraining order for domestic violence. It was upheld by the SCOTUS this very year. Our current gun laws did not keep this violent criminal from having a gun.

        If you really think more laws are the answer, then maybe she should have made her home a Gun Free Zone.

        http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S7pGt_O1uM8

  • Fast45

    We don’t need restrictions on gun ownership. What we DO need, is less pandering and excuse-making on the part of liberals who are queasy about personal responsibility and justice. The same spineless lawmakers ( like our governor Hickenlooper ) want to restrict everyone’s access to weapons … while defending the fact that Nathan Dunlap is still breathing, and James Holmes “deserves” multiple psychiatric exams.

  • Joan

    I had an ex boyfriend break into my house and try to kill me with his bare hands. He broke my nose and three ribs before police showed up. I then went out and bought two handguns, a rifle and a shot gun. All of which took a month for the background checks and the mandatory 10 day period. Luckily, he was in jail so he couldn’t try to finish the job while I was waiting to get the guns. I then took a close range gun fighting course and a stress fire class and have a concealed weapons permit so if anybody comes through my door again I will not be the one going to the hospital or the morgue.

  • Scott LaBelle

    According to the national Highway Traffic Safety Commission in 2012, 10,322 people died in this country due to drunk driving. According to FBI statistics for approximately the same period, 8,583 died due to firearms. 1739 MORE people died because of drunk driving, so where are the protesters? Where are the people fighting to ban cars? Where are the citizens backing prohibition of alcohol? What makes gun deaths more heinous than drunk driving deaths? During the same time-frame 597,689 people died due to heart disease. Where are the protesters against fast food, junk food, and an apathetic lifestyle? The CDC states that in 2011 38,364 people in this country committed suicide. Where are the special-interest groups joining together to advocate for better mental health care? Why is it that Americans are ready to jump on the bandwagon to ban firearms, but won’t lift a finger to protect society from drunk drivers and those who embrace a self-destructive lifestyle?

  • ANONYMOUS

    Wrong. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban is a federal law and applies to all 50 states. It prohibits gun ownership for those under a restraining order for domestic violence. It was upheld by the SCOTUS this very year. Our current gun laws did not keep this violent criminal from having a gun.

    If you really think more laws are the answer, then maybe she should have made her home a Gun Free Zone.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S7pGt_O1uM8

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