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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

May 17, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Gun-control group putting ads on Metro Transit buses

A state gun-control group is putting advertisements inside and outside of dozens of King County Metro Transit buses, urging residents to “think twice about having a gun in your home.”

But the ads, paid for by Washington Ceasefire, were rejected by transit agencies in Snohomish and Pierce counties, said the group’s board president, Ralph Fascitelli.

In addition to the “think twice” message, most of the ads include a statistical claim such as that a homeowner with a gun is 22 times more likely to kill a friend or family member than an intruder.

Fascitelli said the statistics are from the book “Private Gun, Public Health” by Dr. David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health.

The ad buy includes 53 exterior ads and 130 interior ads, according to the King County Department of Transportation. They recently went up and will be in place until at least June 2.

Jeff Switzer, a spokesman for the department, said the ads are in compliance with its ad policy, which prohibits political campaign speech and several other categories of advertising.

Washington Ceasefire made a similar ad buy in March of 2012, Switzer said.

The group has also advertised in Snohomish County before. But Community Transit spokesman Martin Munguia said the county adopted a new policy this month that prohibits ads about social issues.

A spokeswoman for Pierce Transit did not return messages seeking comment.

This year’s campaign is part of an effort by Washington Ceasefire to address gun violence in the aftermath of several recent mass shootings, Fascitelli said.

Fascitelli said the group is focused on both public health education campaigns and legislative efforts. On the legislative front, activists are pursuing a 2014 initiative to the Legislature centered on expanded background checks for gun sales.

“We have to do something,” Fascitelli said.

Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: gun control, King County Transit, Newtown

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