Since January, fewer than two dozen television ads from Democratic candidates and their aligned groups mention guns or combating gun violence, according to a review of data through Tuesday from the media tracking firm AdImpact.
But more than 100 television ads from Republican candidates and supportive groups have used guns as talking points or visual motifs this year. Guns are shown being fired or brandished, or are discussed but not displayed as candidates praise the Second Amendment, vow to block gun-control legislation or simply identify themselves as “pro-gun.”
The disparity highlights how much Republicans stand to gain — and how little Democrats can benefit — from campaigning on guns in primaries.
Republican primary candidates are often competing to show how conservative they are in a polarized landscape ever more defined by white-hot cultural battles. And guns are an easy visual shorthand.