NASHVILLE - State filings show the National Rifle Association has dumped $75,000 into an effort to defeat state House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville in the Aug. 2 GOP primary.
The NRA and Tennessee Firearms Association have accused Maggart of "undermining" Second Amendment rights by trying to "kill" legislation that would have allowed handgun-carry permit holders to store their firearms out of sight in locked vehicles parked on private and public parking lots.
She is facing challenger Courtney Rogers, who is supported by the tea party, in the primary.
Second quarter reports filed with the state's Registry of Election Finance show that as of June 30, the NRA's Political Victory Fund made $37,745.43 in independent expenditures opposing Maggart and spent another $30,528.44 in support of Rogers.
The political action committee earlier made $7,100 in direct contributions to Rogers' House District 45 campaign in Sumner County, just outside Nashville.
According to the report, the gun lobby's expenditures include $14,790 in advertising opposing Maggart, as well as another $10,434 on radio ads and $4,770 on signs critical of Maggart.
Another $14,790 is being spent on advertising on behalf of Rogers, a tea party activist, plus $5,217 on radio ads and another $4,770 on signs backing her campaign.
GOP political operatives say they have yet to see any signs of the independent expenditures. Early voting begins Friday.