A new attack ad from the National Rifle Association (NRA) depicting a woman as a victim of a home invasion falsely attacks Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Jason Kander with the claim, “You have the right to protect your home with a firearm. But liberal politician Jason Kander voted against your right.”
But the legislation cited in the ad wasn’t about “the right to protect your home with a firearm”; instead -- as explained by a since-deleted post on the NRA’s website -- it was a bill to expand self-defense rights outside of the home, similar to controversial Stand Your Ground laws.
Kander, Missouri’s secretary of state and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, is facing incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, who has been endorsed by the NRA.
In the NRA’s September 8 ad, a narrator says, “It’s 4 a.m. and something’s not right. You have a right to protect your home with a firearm. But liberal politician Jason Kander voted against your right. … Jason Kander refused to defend your Second Amendment rights in Jefferson City. How could you trust him in Washington?” During the voiceover, a shadowy figure is seen kicking in a door while a woman sleeps. According to FEC filings, the NRA Political Victory Fund filed a September 6 notice announcing more than $650,000 in advertising spending against Kander.
In support of its claim about Kander’s record, the NRA cites a vote Kander made on House Bill 668 in 2009 while serving in the Missouri House of Representatives:
But according to an archived version of the NRA’s website, H.B. 668 “would expand Missouri’s Castle Doctrine to now include your private property boundaries” -- meaning it would have expanded the self-defense protections already available in the home to outdoor property:
As the text of the bill confirms, when H.B. 668 was being considered, Missouri’s self-defense law already provided that there is no duty to retreat before using force, including deadly force, in the home: “A person does not have a duty to retreat from a dwelling, residence, or vehicle where the person is not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining.”
The juxtaposition of images of a home invasion with false claims about a candidate’s record is a common tactic in NRA election ads. In 2014, an NRA ad showed a home invasion while claiming that then-Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu “voted to take away your gun rights.” In that ad, the NRA cited Landrieu’s vote in favor of expanding background checks on gun sales following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.
PolitiFact rated the ad “pants on fire,” calling it “downright scary” and noting that it “can only be described as fear mongering.” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker similarly gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” -- its worst rating -- citing the “hyperbolic disconnect between the images on the screen and the practical impact of the law in question.”
In fact, the Landrieu ad uses the same home invasion b-roll as the Kander ad does. Here is a still from the Landrieu ad:
And a still from the Kander ad: