Nov 1, 2019

Gun safety group is biggest outside spender in Va. state elections

A gun control now sign

Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ahead of Virginia's elections Nov. 5, gun safety group Everytown tells Axios they're "outspending the NRA by more than 8-to-1" to help Democrats flip the state's General Assembly.

Why it matters: Everytown says it is the biggest outside spender in the election. Gun politics is changing rapidly around the country and within a swing state once predictably red and pro-gun rights. Gun policy is the top issue for Virginia voters, but those supporting Republicans were just as likely as those supporting Democrats to say it will be "very important" for their vote, per a Washington Post poll.

  • Public opinion in Virginia has shifted toward stricter gun control laws over the past several years, but only a little, Roanoke College political scientist Dr. Harry Wilson told Axios. But the spending from gun safety groups and the politics have "changed significantly."
  • Parts of the state are still adamantly pro-gun rights, and Democrats know they’re no longer competitive there, Wilson said. But with shifting demographics and growing cities, gun control has become a winning issue in some crucial swing areas such as Northern Virginia, Tidewater and Richmond — areas Everytown has targeted.

Go deeper: Where the 2020 candidates stand on gun control

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