Clinton takes lead over Trump in NRA’s Virginia

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (left) and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump (Photos: Associated Press)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (left) and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump (Photos: Associated Press)

A new poll out this week shows Hillary Clinton solidifying her lead over Donald Trump in the battleground state of Virginia, home to the National Rifle Association and a significant population of gun owners and military service members.

Though Clinton seems to be the favored candidate, neither appear to be well-liked there, according to a Tuesday Washington Post poll.

Virginia’s populations of military and gun owners are thus far a missed opportunity for Trump, with a current and former military favoring Clinton by 8 points after supporting Barack Obama and Mitt Romney evenly in 2012, the Post reported.

The NRA, on the other hand, is missing no opportunity to try to stymie Clinton and her Democratic down-ticket, at least, in the minds of gun owners.

The gun lobby group spent some $3 million on an anti-Clinton ad in the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada recently. It has also spent an estimated $6 million in support of Trump, who the NRA endorsed at its annual convention in May.

During this election cycle, the NRA has spent some $582,000 on congressional races across the country, including to influence several House elections in its own backyard, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has dubbed this election “the most important of our lifetime,” calling on gun owners to unite against Clinton, who he and Trump say will destroy Americans’ right to bear arms.

And while Clinton hasn’t said she would abolish the Second Amendment, there are many in the gun rights community who foresee an erosion that could effectively do just that, they say.

Electing a liberal, anti-gun justice to the Supreme Court could be the first step, gun rights advocates argue. The death of Justice Antonin Scalia, a Second Amendment champion, in February left a 4-4 court and opened the opportunity for one side on the gun argument to tip the scales.

Should an anti-gun justice be appointed, those scales could tip in the favor of gun control and effectively roll back the Second Amendment-self-defense protections set forth in the D.C. v. Heller.

Gun manufacturers and sellers also currently enjoy immunity from frivolous lawsuits, thanks to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, passed more than 10 years ago. Clinton indicated she would repeal the shield law.