Gun control debate spurs campaign contributions

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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ7) After the mass shooting in Virginia Beach last May, and the special session of the General Assembly that ended abruptly in July, the issues of gun rights and gun control were certain to have a high profile in the Fall campaign.

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"Almost everyone has an opinion on what needs to be done in guns, and the variety of different approaches," said Virginia Tech Professor and WDBJ7 Political Analyst Bob Denton, "and so I think it is a motivating factor."

And this week, contributions from opposing groups confirmed guns will fuel the debate heading into the General Assembly elections November 5.

The National Rifle Association contributed $200,000 to the political action committee of House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert. He's expected to share those campaign funds with other Republican candidates.

And now The Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund says it's contributing more than $400,000 to Democratic candidates, part of a $2,500,000 push by that group.

"Guns are an issue that activates the base of both Democrats and Republicans," Denton said, "and we know that this is going to be a base race, that is it's all about turnout, so I'm not surprised at all that guns are a focus both for Democrats and Republicans."

A focus for both, Denton says, but an advantage for Democrats hoping to secure the support of suburban voters and women, and win control of the legislature in November.

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