How so? If Maggart and Tennessee's Republican legislators can cross the NRA and live to tell about it, that could embolden politicians around the country to do the same. Progressives are talking up limits on gun ownership again after the Batman movie massacre, but everyone in Congress is too afraid of the NRA. If Maggart survives her primary, then progressives can paint the gun lobby as a paper tiger and say, see, the NRA's not so tough after all. How's that for unintended consequences? We're not just making all this up. From today's Washington Post:
The fact remains that gun control legislation is going nowhere. But on the state level, some Republicans are testing the NRA’s power.
GOP leaders in the Tennessee legislature refused to move a bill to prevent businesses from banning guns on their property. A similar bill died in Alabama, and Georgia has resisted changes the NRA wants. Legislation to allow guns in bars in North Carolina is also stalled.
The NRA has put $75,000 behind a primary challenger to Tennessee state Rep. Debra Maggart (R) — more than the group has spent on many U.S. House races. State races are less expensive and less predictable than national ones. But the Aug. 2 result might give some hint of whether the group’s bite is as bad as its bark.