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Gun-control group to spend $1.6 million in Az this week to replace GOP lawmakers

Gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety will be spending $1.6 million on political ads across, radio, internet and mailers this week targeting Republicans in legislative races in an attempt to flip the state's legislature for the first time in 60 years.

Earlier this year, the group announced it would be spending $5 million on Arizona races, and next week's spending signals the start of the group's efforts in the state. .

Everytown for Gun Safety previously worked to elect Democratic lawmakers in Virginia in 2018, which led to changes in that state's gun laws, such as allowing localities to regulate firearms in public places and removing guns from those with protective orders against them.

"We are going big in Arizona to flip both Arizona chambers," Charles Boyd Kelly, Senior Political Advisor for Everytown said to the Arizona Mirror about the group's ad buys.

The group will be spending $800,000 on digital video, radio and static ads and an additional $850,000 for mailers in targeted legislative races.

Legislation championed by Everytown for Gun Safety to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers died in the Arizona legislature this year when the Republican committee chairman refused to hear the bill, something the group will focus on in its ads. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that nearly 4.5 million women have been threatened by a significant other with a firearm.

"It's pretty clear, domestic abusers shouldn't have guns, period," Kelly said.

During the pandemic, calls to domestic violence hotlines have surged and shelters have had trouble trying to find ways to meet the demand while dealing with new guidelines.

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The campaign will be targeting a handful of races: District 6, which runs from Payson to Flagstaff; District 17, which is largely based in Chandler; District 20, which includes north Phoenix and part of Glendale; and District 21, which is centered on Peoria but also includes some portions of Sun City.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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