By Jeb Inge - firstname.lastname@example.org
Only one day after picking up an endorsement from the American Conservative Union, and one day before Friday's Republican U.S. Senate debate, former Gov. George Allen nabbed another key endorsement - this time from the National Rifle Association.
The endorsement comes from what the NRA calls Allen's "stellar record of defending the Second Amendment and protecting our Constitutional right to bear arms," according to a release from Allen's office. The NRA is the nation's largest gun-advocacy group, boasting a membership in excess of four million.
The endorsement, coming so close on the heels of Friday's debate, widens the gap between the high-profle Allen and his challengers, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, Chesterfield County tea party activist Jamie Radtke and Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson.
The winner of the Republican primary will vie with former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine for the Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.
"I have always been proud to support the natural rights of law-abiding citizens to protect their families and themselves," Allen said in response to the endorsement.
Allen's legislative history with gun-rights issues gave him NRA grades hovering between "A" and "A+."
As senator, Allen co-sponsored the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act, which was designed to prohibit gun confiscation during a state of emergency. He also sponsored National Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation.
As governor, Allen signed into law Virginia's Right-to-Carry law.
"The way to reduce crime is to crack down on criminals, not disarm our law-abiding citizens," Allen said in a release.
The endorsement comes one day after Allen received backing from the American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest conservative lobbying firm.