When it comes to Second Amendment rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the fault lines couldn’t be drawn any clearer.
The Democrat in the race, Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, has been endorsed by out-of-state gun control groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS). Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization bankrolled by ex-New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is no stranger to Virginia politics.
In 2015, New York City billionaire Michael Bloomberg and out of state gun control groups sank more than $3 million into the Commonwealth to try and elect pro-gun control candidates, but lost the vast majority of races they funded. This election cycle they’re hoping to cement the gun control movement’s hold on the governor’s mansion by supporting Northam.
The likely target of these out of state efforts will be Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, who was endorsed in early August by the National Rifle Association. The NRA has been the nation’s premier gun-rights organization since its inception in 1871.
"The 2017 election will be pivotal in preserving Virginians’ Second Amendment rights,” said NRA-PVF Chairman Chris W. Cox in announcing the endorsement. The group went on to call Northam “jarringly out of touch” on the issue of gun rights.On his website, Northam boasts his support of gun control proposals like universal background checks, an “assault weapons” ban, a one-handgun-a-month buying limit, and closing the so-called “gun show loophole” - all issues that are promoted heavily by groups like Everytown and ARS.
Gillespie consistently touts his support of the Second Amendment, and what he refers to as the importance of protecting the “tradition of hunting, fishing and responsible gun ownership” in Virginia.
The election will be held on November 7, 2017.