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Gun-Control Battle Spills Over To Super Bowl Ads

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is airing a 30-second spot in the Washington, D.C., area calling for background checks on all gun sales.

The ad, which will air during the third-quarter break of the Super Bowl, shows video footage of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre supporting background checks in May 1999, a month after the mass shooting at Columbine High School.

"We think it's reasonable to provide mandatory instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show," LaPierre can be seen saying. "No loopholes anywhere for anyone."

LaPierre responded to the ad on Fox News Sunday, saying he was not endorsing universal background checks but instead indicating his support for "a check at gun shows."

Last week, while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, LaPierre described universal background checks as "an unworkable universal federal nightmare bureaucracy."

President Obama has called for universal background checks as part of his plan to stop gun violence in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last December.

LaPierre reiterated his opposition to those checks on Fox News Sunday, telling host Chris Wallace:

"It's a fraud to call it universal. It's never going to be universal. The criminals aren't going to comply with it. They could care less. We ought to quit calling it right now a universal check. The real title ought to be 'the check on law abiding people all over this country.'"

The battle over gun control comes amid several high-profile shootings, including the killings in Newtown, Conn. Gun-control advocates want a restriction on the ownership of certain firearms such as military-style assault rifles. But the NRA opposes most gun-control efforts.

Mark Kelly, whose wife, former Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was seriously injured in a mass shooting two years ago, testified on Capitol Hill last week, saying he and his wife are "pro-gun ownership" but "anti-gun violence."

Kelly told Rachel Martin, host of Weekend Edition Sunday, that he believes he and LaPierre can find common ground.

"I shook [LaPierre's] hand. I got to talk to him briefly," Kelly said. " I hope to have another conversation with him in the future and I'm hopeful that we get some real gun violence legislation passed to protect Americans, including kids in their classrooms."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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