The advertisements were created by Autonomous Collective, a group of advertising and national gun safety organizations aligned with the March for Our Lives movement. The 20-second spots, in four different themes, juxtapose images of deer and duck and hogs alongside pictures of young children to highlight differences between hunting laws and the lack of regulations for weapons such as AR-15 assault rifles.
One of the video shows an adult deer with antlers with the caption: “You need a license to kill these,” with dramatic music overplaying; the video then pivots to a school-age girl with a marker in her hand, with the caption: “But not these.”
“Senators please do something,” the text implores as the video ends, with a picture of the US Capitol, the music deepening.
David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 Parkland, Fla., mass shooting and a central figure behind the March for Our Lives movement, told the Globe that the ads aim to serve as a call for action, saying gun owners and Republicans must see the need for change, that everyone agrees in the need for common- sense gun restrictions and gun owner responsibility.
“We’re trying to wake people up, before it impacts them,” he said. “We all agree, ultimately, that we want to end gun violence, that we want responsibility, that we want safety and, we want peace.”
Hogg added that the theme of the ads is meant to address the culture of gun ownership in America, to show that gun responsibility “needs to be mandatory,” and that “weapons like the AR-15 and many of these guns, they are made to kill, made to kill humans.
“Bullets don’t see a political party; they kill everyone,” he said. “We all bleed the same blood, and shed the same tears after our young ones are stolen from us. We’ve got to do something.”
Continuing the hunting comparison, a second ad in the series shows a picture with game ducks and the caption: “We limit rounds for hunting these.” The video then transitions to a woman holding an infant in a carrier, with the caption: “But not for hunting these.”
A third video similarly features a picture of several dead ducks tied to a sling, with the caption: “There’s a limit on killing these.” The video then transitions to a photo of several school-age children laughing, with a banner stating: “No limit on killing these.”
A fourth video targets the assault rifles that have become the favored weapon of mass shooters. A picture of several hogs features a caption: “The AR-15 isn’t designed to kill these.” The video then shifts to a photo of smiling school-age children with the caption: “It’s designed to kill these.”
Each of the videos end with the demand, “Senators please do something.”
John Rosenthal, a Massachusetts-based businessman and gun owner who has long advocated for the nation to adopt stronger gun laws similar to those in Massachusetts, said he hopes the ads galvanize lawmakers to bring change, or for voters to force change in elections in the fall.
“It is absolutely insane where the Republicans care more about licensing and round limits for hunting deer and duck but not humans and children,” said Rosenthal, who founded Stop Handgun Violence and is a supporter of March for Our Lives.
Rosenthal has funded the large billboard on the Massachusetts Turnpike at Fenway Park counting the number of gun deaths by the day since 1994, and he said, “Republicans have stood in the way of any reasonable gun safety regulations for decades.”
But he sees promise with the March for Our Lives movement, driven largely by young activists who were too young to vote when a gunman stormed their school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, killing 17 people and injuring 17 more.
“These are kids that have never known one single day of not being at risk of being shot at school since 1999,” the year of the Columbine school shooting, he said. “They are sick and tired of waiting for adults to do something because our generation has failed them miserably.”
He added, “these 500 marches are not going to stop, they are not going to stop, and if we get enough people to vote on this issue in November we may get enough Democrats to pass common-sense gun laws, just like that exist for protecting animals.”
The ads follow a wrenching day in Congress, as survivors and parents of victims from recent mass shootings provided testimony on gun violence in the United States.
Among them, an 11-year-old girl who survived the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas recounted in video testimony how she covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot and “just stayed quiet” after witnessing her teacher get shot in the head.
The testimony at the House Oversight Committee came as lawmakers work to strike a bipartisan agreement on gun safety measures in the aftermath of back-to-back mass shootings.
The Democratic-led House is expected to pass legislation that would raise the age limit for purchasing a semiautomatic rifle and prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds.
But the legislation has almost no chance of becoming law as the Senate pursues negotiations focused on improving mental health programs, bolstering school security, and enhancing background checks. The House bill does allow Democratic lawmakers a chance to frame for voters in November where they stand on policies that polls show appeal to a majority.
Majorities of US adults think mass shootings would occur less often if guns were harder to get, and that schools and other public places have become less safe than they were two decades ago.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.