Tampa, FL -- There’s a new public service announcement going viral and fueling the debate over gun control.
A one-minute spot satirically suggesting children in this country be rounded up and deported for their role in gun violence.
“Keep America safe. Stop the toddlers now,” says the commercial, “Round them up. Deport them. Get them out of our country.”
Clearly satirical. But also, deadly serious.
“A toddler shoots dad and pregnant mother with one bullet,” it says. “A woman is dead after a toddler got a hold of a gun. This morning a toddler shot his sister dead.”
The public service announcement from The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence shows multiple images of children, some very young, holding and even firing weapons.
It is squarely aimed at people who defend gun rights – no matter what.
“It's time we did something. We need to lock them up,” it says. “Not the guns. That's just un-American. The toddlers.”
Lemeka Butler agrees with the ad’s underlying message. Her 5-year-old son Danny found a gun under their house in St. Petersburg earlier this year. Pulled the trigger, and nearly killed his little sister.
She watched the ad.
“That was serious. That was like dramatic,” said Butler. “Not amused. That hurt me. I wanted to cry. Because my child did that.”
Critics say the spot is misleading if not offensive.
They say an analogy would be selling fewer cell phones knowing there are irresponsible people out there who will text and drive. It’s not the product, they say, it’s the user.
“It's a ridiculous attack on the second amendment,” said Fred Flesche, who owns Shooting Sports in Tampa. “Because children don't have the right to bear arms. The parents do,” he said.
Flesche watched the ad, and thinks it misses the mark.
“If you just take that, even though it is satire, just take it like it is. Oh my, God. Look at this. It's terrible the kids are getting the guns. Well, stop it. It can be stopped,” said Flesche, “Not by not buying a gun, and not by not having a right to own one. Having responsibility in the right to own one.”
The ad is already doing what it was intended to do. Rapidly going viral.
It’s a discussion says Butler, regardless of your take, that’s worth having.
“There is too many guns,” she said, “But everybody’s got to work together. Everybody’s got to work together.”
The organization behind the one-minute spot says 3-year-old boys are the most common to get their hands on a gun.
If you’d like to see watch ad in its entirety, click here.