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Gubernatorial candidate Diane Black attends the Hamilton County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner at The Chattanoogan on April 27.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The National Rifle Association has endorsed U.S. Rep. Diane Black in a crowded Republican primary field for Tennessee governor.

In a news release Thursday, the influential gun rights group's Political Victory Fund said Black is the only Tennessee gubernatorial candidate with an "A'' rating and a "perfect record" on Second Amendment issues.

NRA Political Victory Fund Chairman Chris Cox said Black has never wavered in the fight to expand and protect Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

Black has said the current wave of deadly school shootings is due to mental illness and "deterioration of the family," not availability of guns.

The other leading GOP candidates are ex-state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd, state House Speaker Beth Harwell and businessman Bill Lee. Each has been outspoken about supporting gun rights.

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