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The National Rifle Association has endorsed the re-election of Rep. Frank Kratovil of Maryland in the state's most competitive congressional contest.

Kratovil "has earned the endorsement of the NRA-PVF (political victory fund) because has defended the Second Amendment freedoms of law-abiding gun owners, hunters and sportsmen in Maryland and across America," said Chris W. Cox, the NRA's chief lobbyist. "On November 2, I urge all Maryland NRA Members and gun owners in the 1st District to vote Frank Kratovil for Congress."

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The influential gun lobby also gave the Democratic freshman an "A" for legislative efforts during his initial term in Congress. The NRA said he had signed a "successful pro-gun" legal brief in a key Second Amendment case. He also voted to allow Americans to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges and cosponsored legislation to overhaul the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Finally, Kratovil signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder opposing a new ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines, and cosponsored a national right-to-carry reciprocity bill involving state right-to-carry licenses and permits.

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Republican candidate Andy Harris failed to get the NRA's endorsement but did receive an "A" rating from the NRA as a "solidly pro-gun candidate." Commenters on this blog in recent weeks have noted that Harris, a veteran state legislator from Baltimore County, once voted against Sunday hunting on the Eastern Shore.

We'll be watching to see whether the NRA backs up its Kratovil endorsement with letters and phone calls to NRA members in the First District, which covers the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties.

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