How 2014 became the year of the gun-toting candidate

None of those ads is explicitly about threats to the Second Amendment. None of them were run in states where any new restrictions on guns have passed or could pass since the 2012 Newtown murders kicked awake the “gun safety” lobby. Quite the contrary, actually—Brannon lost his primary to North Carolina’s speaker of the House, who’d passed a law that allowed guns back onto playgrounds and college campuses. The long tail of Newton was a fitful U.S. Senate gun debate that ended in victory for the National Rifle Association, in a few dozen state bills that tightened gun laws, and in almost twice as many state laws that loosened them. The recall of two Colorado state senators who’d voted for a new gun bill effectively silenced the left for the rest of the cycle, but the fear of “gun-grabbers” has never abated.

“We saw with the Colorado state Senate elections and from what Mike Bloomberg is doing that the Second Amendment is under attack,” says Mark McNulty, spokesman for Will Brooke’s campaign. “People want to show they’re responsible gun owners, and this is a way to emphasize that.”

Another way to emphasize it is seen in the surge of gun raffles, each of them certain to raise money and—just as importantly—show the left that you won’t be cowed.