Bloomberg Anti-Gun Group Politicizes Senator's Colleague's Murder

Bloomberg Anti-Gun Group Politicizes Senator's Colleague's Murder

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced an ad buy to criticize Arkansas’ Democrat Senator Mark Pryor.

Pryor, who will be running for a third term in 2014, recently voted against the Toomey-Manchin anti-gun bill, drawing the ire of Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns group.

Bloomberg’s group has announced a $350,000 buy for a two-week campaign.

The video ad features former Democratic staffer Angela Bradford-Barnes mourning the loss of Democrat Party chairman Bill Gwatney, who was shot to death in 2008 as he worked at party headquarters in Little Rock.

Police never determined a motive for the shooting.

In the anti-Pryor ad, Angela Bradford-Barnes mentions Gwatney’s murder, then says that she was “disappointed when Mark Pryor voted against comprehensive background checks.”

Once the ad debuted, Senator Pryor issued a statement criticizing Bloomberg for “politicizing” Gwatney’s murder.

“He was my friend and he was killed by someone with severe mental health issues. The Mayor’s bill would have done nothing to prevent his death because it fails to adequately address the real issue and common thread in all of these shootings–mental health,” Pryor said in his statement.

“Mayor Bloomberg’s attack ad politicizes the death of my friend by misleading people into thinking that his bill would have prevented Bill Gwatney’s tragic death. The fact is it wouldn’t have, which makes Mayor Bloomberg’s ad even more disgusting.”

Pryor is generally a progressive on most votes–he has an 18% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union–and voted for and sponsored a variety of anti-gun bills when he was in the Arkansas legislature. Still, Pryor voted against Senator Dianne Feinstein’s assault weapons ban earlier this year.

Photo: Edward Reed/New York City Mayor’s Office