MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The hotly contested 8th Congressional District campaign took another turn this week, over guns.

The National Rifle Association is pouring nearly $750,000 into a negative ad which mocks incumbent Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan. The ad features an actor in a suit and a goofy hat, posing for election-year photos.

“Nolan doesn’t get basic gun safety, and doesn’t know how many shells go in a duck gun,” the ad says.

There is also a man holding cue cards in the ad, which read, “Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger,” and, “Three Shells In A Duck Gun.”

The ad ridicules a widely-circulated image of Nolan posing for pictures with his finger on the trigger of an AR-15. He also told the Associated Press duck hunting guns could hold six shells instead of the legal three.

But it’s something else that got him an “F” rating from the NRA, even though Nolan says he’s a lifelong hunter and gun owner.

Nolan was among lawmakers who supported a ban on assault weapons after the Sandy Hook school killings, where 28 children died.

“I don’t need an assault weapon to shoot a duck,” said Nolan during an episode CBS’s “Face The Nation” in 2013.

That’s when a then-unknown Fleet Farm executive named Stewart Mills posted a video on YouTube from his family store’s shooting range – before challenging Nolan for his Congressional seat.

“Our rifles may look a little scary to some, but they really do not operate any different than any semi-automatic shotgun or rifle,” said Mills in the YouTube video.

The NRA ad ridicules Nolan, but does not explain why it opposes his gun record or an assault weapons ban.

It is snarky-tough, but fair game — reflecting the powerful group’s opinion.

“Rick Nolan is nothing but a poser,” the ad concludes.

Nolan calls the NRA’s 2014 campaign against him a “dishonest … smear campaign.”

Here are some of the sources we used for in this Reality Check:

NRA Political Victory Fund Ad 1, Ad 2
Stewart Mills YouTube Video
Associated Press: NRA Ad Blitz Against Nolan; “Six Shells”
MN 2014 DNR Waterfowl Regulations
MN Gun Owners Political Action Committee
Nolan Assault Weapons

Pat Kessler

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