The NRA is working to defeat a Tennessee state legislator because it blames her for the failure of a proposal that would have allowed gun owners to leave firearms in their cars in employee parking lots, says the Tennessean. The NRA has spent more than $75,000 in the race to try to push state Rep. Debra Maggart, the Republican Caucus chairwoman, out of office and nominate former tea party leader Courtney Rogers to take her place. The race is drawing attention as a test of the strength of the NRA in the wake of the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings.
The bill was delayed for weeks in the legislature as Republican leaders refused to schedule a vote on the measure after it passed committees. The NRA and other backers of the legislation worked until the session's final hours to try to persuade lawmakers to defy leadership and bring the bill to the floor. They failed, and gun rights groups have blamed Maggart. Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said the group wasn't picking on one individual legislator but instead went after the one Republican leader with a primary challenger. “What are we supposed to do? Ignore a legislator that works behind closed doors to work against a bill?” Cox said last week. “She should have called on leadership to bring the bill to the floor.”