The mother of one of the victims of the Aurora theater shooting tears into U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman for his recent vote on gun legislation in a radio ad that began airing in the Republican's suburban district this week.
The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, the political arm of one of the country's largest gun control groups, said it's pouring more than $100,000 into a radio ad campaign hitting Coffman on his vote last week to allow gun owners with concealed-carry permits to carry hidden handguns in other states.
Theresa Hoover, whose son A.J. Boik was one of 12 people killed in the Aurora shooting, accuses Coffman in the ad of voting to "eviscerate Colorado's gun laws," which include some of the nation's toughest provisions - passed in the wake of the 2012 mass shooting that took place in the heart of Coffman's 6th Congressional District.
"You were elected to represent me and our community, forever changed by that horrific act of gun violence, yet you voted to eviscerate Colorado's gun laws, making it easy for people with dangerous histories, no permit and no training to carry hidden, loaded guns in our communities," Hoover says in the 60-second ad.
"Your response to gun violence is voting with the gun lobby to weaken public safety laws? My family will never forget what happened in the Aurora Theater shooting. Have you forgotten?"
Coffman said last week after voting to approve the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 that the bill is "common sense policy that will protect every state's ability to control where concealed firearms can be legally carried."
Comparing concealed-carry permits to drivers licenses, which are honored across state lines, Coffman said out-of-state gun owners "will still have to know and abide by Colorado laws."
Critics of the legislation say states that place strict limits on which residents can carry concealed weapons will nonetheless be forced to allow people to carry who would legally be barred if they actually lived in the state.
The bill, which also includes a measure to strengthen the FBI's database of Americans prohibited from buying guns, is a top priority of the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups. It's the first gun legislation Congress has taken up since October's mass shooting in Las Vegas and another in early November at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The bill heads next to the Senate.
The Everytown organization said it spent $300,000 earlier this month on a barrage of ads urging Coffman and a bipartisan group of other members of Congress to vote against the bill, which passed the Republican-controlled House 231-198, mostly on party lines.
In response to the first round of ads aimed at Coffman - including a full-page ad in a local newspaper reprinting a letter from a Colorado resident whose sister was killed while she tried to save students during the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut - his campaign provided a statement from Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock:
"Thank you, Mike Coffman for supporting the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act! Nancy Pelosi and the liberals opposing this common sense legislation are trying to prevent Americans from protecting themselves. I appreciate you fighting for our Second Amendment rights."
Coffman, serving his fifth term representing the metro area swing district, is facing a primary challenge from a GOP activist, while four Democrats are running for the seat.