Liberal group brings al-Qaeda into gun debate

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Associated Press

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 13 at 8:01 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A liberal political group is using an al-Qaeda recruitment video in a TV ad attacking Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on his pro-gun stance.

Americans United for Change is spending only $5,000 to air the spot on three Lexington TV stations, a miniscule ad buy, but it still drew a stern rebuke from the McConnell campaign and others, including one Republican foe, Louisville attorney Mike Karem.

The 30-second ad shows American-born al-Qaeda operative Adam Gadahn explaining that anyone can go to a gun show and get a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and without showing identification.

"There are lots of ways to attack Mitch McConnell besides telling people if you want a weapon, here's the way to get one," Karem said. "People ought to think about what they're putting out in the public sphere."

Americans United for Change is pushing for more stringent background checks and to close the private-sale loophole. The group's executive director, Tom McMahon, called McConnell one of the "yes men" for gun manufacturers.

"What should give Sen. McConnell and fellow Republicans who oppose broader background checks great pause is that their position is so unpopular that virtually the only people who agree with them are big gun manufacturers, criminals, and terrorists," McMahon said in a statement. "Talk about bad company."

McConnell is up for re-election next year, but he is already under attack by political foes running TV ads. He has even run one TV ad of his own in response.

Opponents also have been accused of making inappropriate ethnic remarks about his wife, former U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, and of secretly recording one of his private campaign strategy sessions at his campaign headquarters in Louisville.

"To say these attacks are desperate and extreme would be an understatement," Benton said. "They are deplorable. The political left has proven they'll stop at nothing to target people who disagree with them. Racist attacks on Mitch's family, illegal bugging, and connecting him with terrorists won't stop him from fighting for the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Kentuckians."

Gun control supporters in the U.S. Senate on Thursday defeated an effort by conservatives Thursday to derail proposed firearms restrictions. The action came four months after a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The shooting has been a catalyst for Obama and lawmakers to try to address firearms violence.

Lawmakers are considering legislation that would subject more firearms buyers to federal background checks and strengthen laws against illicit gun trafficking. Proponents believe those provisions would make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get weapons.

McConnell is one of the chief opponents of the legislation, saying it would restrict the constitutional rights of relatives and friends to sell guns to each other.

"The fact is," Mahon said, "background checks are working to save lives and are guaranteed to save many more lives if the private sale loophole was closed."

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