In election first, USCCA's PAC on the air in support of 2A candidates

AP Photo/Steven Senne

A familiar name in the Second Amendment community is now expanding its mission to include electoral politics just in time for the midterms. The US Concealed Carry Association has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, but this is the first election where the organization is actually spending in support of pro-2A candidates.

Last year the group launched an affiliated political action committee called United States Concealed Carry Association for Saving Lives, which is now on the air in North Carolina with ads backing Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd, and the PAC says it has plans to add to its spending in the days ahead in support of four GOP House candidates in California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona.

While the total dollar amount that USCCA’s PAC is expected to spend is a fairly modest “high six figures,” depending on how that money is allocated it could have an outsized impact; particularly in North Carolina, where Budd is running neck-and-neck with Democrat Cheri Beasley. The RCP polling average has Budd leading by 1.5 points, well within the margin of error of most polls, but USCCA is hoping that their new ad will sway voters without attacking Beasley by name.

For instance, the pro-Budd spot tells the story of a woman who uses a firearm for protection from an abuser. Democratic challenger Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is never mentioned, let alone criticized.

“My ex threw me down the stairs when I was seven months pregnant. He threatened to kill me and my four young children,” a woman named Jennifer M., described as a domestic violence survivor and responsible gun owner, says, talking straight to the camera. “Thankfully, he’s in prison now. But that won’t last forever — and that’s why I’m a trained gun owner. I need the ability to protect my family.”

That’s a powerful message, but will voters actually draw a line between the pro-2A point of view and Beasley’s support for all kinds of gun control laws? The Democratic candidate’s website calls for “implementing common sense gun safety measures like universal background checks” as well as “keeping combat-style weapons and high-capacity magazines off our streets and away from our schools”, which is another way of saying “I want to criminalize your right to keep and bear arms”. At the same time Beasley believes that “in too many communities across North Carolina and our country, bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to serve are broken”… something that I would argue only gets worse the more Democrats carve out new, non-violent, possessory criminal offenses from our Second Amendment rights.

If the USCCA PAC’s ad is taking a soft-sell approach, Budd has a chance to confront Beasley with some tough questions later this week when the pair are scheduled to hold their first (and likely only) debate on October 7th. While the economy and inflation may be the big topic, Budd has an opportunity to contrast his own support for the Second Amendment with Beasley’s desire to diminish it, and given that crime and public safety are important issues on the minds of many voters that could give Budd an important edge in the final days of the campaign.