U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said Tuesday that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg should worry about crime and gun issues in his own city, not North Dakota.
Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, was responding to a $12 million national ad campaign launched by Mayor's Against Illegal Guns, a group that Bloomberg co-founded. The ads support background checks, and about $156,000 will be spent to run the ads in North Dakota.
"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists on taking gun-driven crime statistics in his city and from other major cities and trying to force those numbers into a narrative that just does not fit North Dakota," Heitkamp said.
She added, "I do not need someone from New York City to tell me how to handle crime in our state."
Bloomberg announced the ads on Saturday and said they would be running in 13 states: Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But Heitkamp said Tuesday that the group was wrong to target North Dakota — a state, she said, that had one of the highest rates of gun ownership but also among the "lowest incidences of gun crime in the country."
The two ads, which are posted on the group's website, are called "Responsible" and "Family." Both urge viewers to express their support for background checks.
The Senate is scheduled to debate federal gun control legislation next month.
Heitkamp, who was elected last year, has already been the target of gun control advocates. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence in January ran print advertisements in Washington and North Dakota criticizing her views on guns.