Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is urging key senators to support expanded background checks for gun purchases in a new television ad that was to begin airing Tuesday in Arizona and Iowa.

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun-control group started by Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, said it is spending six figures on the ads in two states with strong gun traditions. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up tougher firearm regulations Thursday.

"There are solutions we can agree on, even gun owners like us," Giffords says in the commercial over a close-up of her and Kelly looking directly into the camera. "Take it from me: Congress must act. Let's get this done."

The ad opens with black-and-white images from vigils after high-profile mass shootings at a Colorado movie theater, a Wisconsin temple, a Connecticut elementary school and the attempt on Giffords' own life outside of a grocery store, which also left 12 others wounded and six dead.

The overwhelming majority of people in the respective states - eight of 10 in Arizona and nearly nine of 10 in Iowa - support universal background checks, says the ad, which urges viewers to contact their senators to ask them to support the measure as well. It targets two Republicans on the Judiciary Committee who have an A rating with the National Rifle Association - the top Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake - along with Sen. John McCain, who has indicated he'll probably support background checks. It also mentions Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who supports expanded background checks.

Rally urges Flake to back gun checks / A5