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Roberson digital ads in congressional race take aim at Tarkanian

Michael Roberson is using a series of digital ads to attack rival congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian’s gun-rights record.

Roberson, the state Senate majority leader, and Tarkanian are running for the GOP nomination in the race for the 3rd Congressional District seat, which is open because U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., is running for Senate.

Tarkanian scored an “F” grade from the National Rifle Association for his gun rights stances in 2006, when he unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state. Roberson got an “A” from the association in 2014.

Roberson is using this contrast against Tarkanian in his congressional bid. The race has attracted seven Republican candidates and six Democratic candidates who are running for their party’s nomination in the June 14 primaries.

“That ‘F’ rating stands in stark contrast to the position of the vast majority of voters in CD3 as well as to Michael Roberson’s ‘A’ rating,” Mike Slanker, a senior strategist and adviser for Roberson, wrote in a memo sent to media Wednesday.

His memo notes that Tarkanian was endorsed in 2006 by the Brady Campaign. That group is focused on preventing gun violence, but with policies the gun rights lobby opposes on Second Amendment grounds.

The campaign memo said Roberson got legislation passed in 2015 that expanded the “rights of law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves” and offered greater protections from lawsuits for those who use deadly force for protection.

The association praised that legislation, saying the law is “squarely on the side of victims instead of criminals.”

The digital ads will appear online and on mobile devices in the district and cost about $5,000 initially.

The ads show Tarkanian and Roberson, contrasting the grades. One ad shows two targets: one with bullet holes in the bull’s eye and one with bullet holes outside the bull’s eye. Another ad shows a firing toy gun and says Tarkanian is “playing with our gun rights.”

The NRA’s political action committee, which issues the grades, hasn’t yet graded 2016 candidates in this race.

Tarkanian responded to Roberson in a statement.

“Once again, Michael Roberson has trouble with the truth,” Tarkanian said. “My position on the Second Amendment is clear. I believe that the Second Amendment protects the people’s God-given right to armed self-defense, and I oppose all efforts to restrict this fundamental, individual right.

“With the passing of Justice Scalia, this right and the Heller decision affirming it has never been in more jeopardy, and I intend to do everything in my power as a Congressman to protect and defend it.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13. The 5-4 Heller decision, supported by Scalia, held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm and that the firearm can be used for lawful purposes that include self-defense within one’s home.

Neither Tarkanian nor Roberson are questioning the Second Amendment record of Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a fellow Republican candidate in the congressional race who is famous for supporting gun rights.

Fiore fought unsuccessfully in the 2015 legislative session for “campus carry” legislation that would have allowed those with concealed weapons permits to carry firearms on Nevada college campuses.

She also attracted national media attention when she produced a “Second Amendment calendar,” that featured her posing with rifles, assault weapons and pistols for each month of 2016.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find @BenBotkin1 on Twitter.

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