Voters’ opinions of the NRA may partially explain why the race for governor of Virginia is tightening. A poll conducted for the NRA by ONMessage Inc., found that those Virginians who favor the NRA outnumber its opponents by 51% to 38%. A slight majority (46% to 43%) oppose NRA in Virginia’s Washington, D.C., suburbs, but “outside the D.C. media market,” NRA’s supporters outnumber its opponents by 19 percentage points.
The poll’s findings may be significant, because the two leading candidates in the race--Ken Cuccinelli, the state’s Republican Attorney General, and Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and campaign operative for President Bill Clinton and then-Senator Hillary Clinton--have radically different views on gun control.
McAuliffe, rated an “F” by NRA-PVF, supports: making it a crime to transfer privately-owned firearms between many family and friends; a ban on commonly owned firearms, including the nation’s most commonly purchased firearm, the AR-15; and a ban on standard-capacity magazines for handguns and rifles most commonly owned for defensive purposes.
Cuccinelli, “A”-rated by NRA-PVF, supports the Second Amendment and instead advocates improving the treatment provided to individuals with mental health problems. In a debate with McAuliffe in Richmond on Saturday, Cuccinelli pointed out that no one has ever identified a crime in Virginia that would have been prevented if a law requiring FBI approval of private sales and trades of firearms had been in place.
Apparently, gun control supporters consider Virginia’s governor’s race to have serious implications for the future. Not only is New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg spending $1.1 million on advertisements attacking Mr. Cuccinelli in the D.C. media market, but the ads are so dishonest that even the anti-gun Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” had to weigh in.
As the “Fact Checker” points out, ads attacking Cuccinelli for opposing legislation to “close the gun show loophole” show photographs of the four high-profile murderers in the Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Newtown, and Aurora crimes; not a single one of whom obtained his firearm(s) from anyone at a gun show. “Emotional attack ads need to be scrupulous with the facts,” the “Fact Checker” says. “[I]t is misleading to use [the killers’ photos] in the ad.”
We hope that as they prepare to vote on Tuesday, Virginia voters will consider not only the wide difference between the two candidates’ positions on gun control, but also the equally wide difference between the ethics of their biggest financial supporters.