Lori Haas in The Washington Post

The NRA is in turmoil. But in Virginia gun debate this week, the group flexed its muscles.

Lori Haas, the Virginia director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has worked particularly closely with the administration, appearing at events with Moran and Northam. She also appeared in Virginia Beach with Democratic state Senate candidate Missy Cotter Smasal, who staged a town hall with members of Moms Demand Action on the same night that her opponent — Republican incumbent William R. DeSteph Jr. — attended a session with the NRA.

“Had Republicans worked with the gun-violence prevention movement, I think some negotiating might have happened over these many years,” said Haas, whose daughter was wounded in the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

Haas disputed the idea that the NRA has outsize influence in Virginia. “I don’t believe that Republicans in the General Assembly are doing this only because of the influence of the gun lobby,” she said. The lawmakers do not need persuading because “most of them believe in an extremist version of the Second Amendment,” she said.

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