GOP lawmaker defends ad threatening to shoot people as an 'oversight'

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State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-VA) has not apologized for her ad targeting gun groups.

Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase (R), known for openly carrying a pistol when on the Senate floor and for professing her view that arming women is the best way to prevent gender-based discrimination, ran a Facebook ad last week threatening to shoot gun violence prevention groups. After national and local media highlighted her latest extremist rhetoric, she toned it down — slightly — and blamed everyone but herself for the original ad.

The first ad, posted on Thursday by her official campaign account, was seen by at least 1,000 targeted Facebook users. It showed an image of a woman, presumably Chase, aiming a gun, with the words "I'm not afraid to shoot down gun groups. SIGN my petition to help end the assault on our liberties."

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On Friday, a new version of the ad appeared on Facebook, changed to say, "I'm not afraid to shoot down attacks from any anti-gun groups, because gun rights are women's rights." The violent image was unchanged.

Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase (R) revised Facebook ad

 

This language is almost identical to another ad that her campaign had run earlier in September. It showed a different image of a person aiming a gun with the words "I'm not afraid to shoot down any attack from the anti-gun lobby because gun rights are women's rights."

The Chase campaign initially blamed the threatening language on a "communications oversight," but made no apology. Her campaign manager reportedly blamed an outside media team.

Chase's Democratic opponent in the November 2019 election, Amanda Pohl, slammed Chase in a tweet on Friday, saying, "Gun violence prevention advocates and constituents deserve an apology not excuses from @ChaseForSenate."

On Sunday, Chase posted a lengthy explanation on her Facebook page, blaming "the digital media company we just recently hired" for "screwing up our original approved ad." Chase claimed that this unnamed vendor "edited our authorized and approved ad with one that was ludicrous and over the top with one we would never have approved."

In her statement — in which she took no responsibility for the ad and still offered no apology — Chase claimed that the "company representative we worked with has admitted fault and we've requested an apology from the company's owners before noon Monday or we release the name of the company."

Chase did not respond to an email asking the name of the vendor, though under Virginia law, she will have to identify her paid vendors by name on her next campaign finance reform.

While Chase called the original language "ludicrous and over the top," it is hardly out of character for the Virginia Republican. She has previously accused state capitol police officers of being "democrat operatives," reportedly mocked the Virginia senate's clerk as "Miss Piggy," and dismissed the need for an Equal Rights Amendment, saying. "I call my revolver my little Equal Rights Amendment because it is empowering to women."