In practical terms, however, the overlap between gun ownership and voter denial is bewildering. Many of the strongest proponents of freely available firearms center their views on the idea that guns are necessary to fight an oppressive federal government. If this government is seen as also illegitimate, the risk of violence would necessarily seem to increase.
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Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that lobbies for new legislation aimed at combating gun violence, decided to assess the extent of the overlap between the aforementioned viewpoints for one particular group of Republicans: those who seek to get elected. They looked at the letter grades the NRA uses to measure candidates’ support for gun rights and overlapped the findings with FiveThirtyEight’s examination of the prevalence of denial about the loss of Donald Trump in 2020.
A total of 397 candidates for House or state-level office (Senate, governor, executive offices) had both NRA rank and a publicly expressed position on the election. Of those, 138 were both given an A or A+ rating by the NRA and were classified as having “totally denied” the election by FiveThirtyEight. In other words: 52% of all A/A+ grade recipients were complete election deniers and 73% of complete election deniers had an A or A+.
Add to those who were rated A- or Aq (an A qualified by the lack of a voting record) and 186 of the 397 candidates had an A and were complete election deniers.
If we overlap the 2020 vote in the jurisdiction each candidate hopes to represent, an interesting pattern emerges. Those most likely to deny the election results and get the highest NRA ratings are also very likely to represent/seek to represent the places Trump won in 2020. Most others – especially those whose opinions on the FiveThirtyEight election could not determine – hope to represent the places President Biden won. It is safe to assume that some of those who held back from sharing their opinions did so because they recognized that an embrace of voter denial would not play well with their potential voters.
There is also the flip side of this overlapping voting history to consider. The fact that most of these jurisdictions are places where Trump won means that the Republican candidates included in this analysis are also more likely to win. There are 115 Grade A/A+ NRA recipients who have completely denied the election results and hope to represent places that were red in 2020.
More than 100 of them are candidates for the House.