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State politicians get money from NRA

Lankford calls for background checks

In Oklahoma, it's no secret that residents strongly support the Second Amendment and their right to own firearms.

But despite Oklahoma's image as a ruby-red Republican stronghold, the state's politicians aren't awash in cash from the gun lobby. An Oklahoma Watch check of campaign finance records shows relatively little spending by the National Rifle Association on Oklahoma politicians.

The NRA often draws attention for its political influence after a mass shooting such as the one in which 17 people were killed at a Florida school. The incident reawakened questions about whether stricter gun-control laws could prevent such tragedies. Students at the Florida school where the shooting occurred want to create a "badge of shame" for politicians who accept NRA support.

At least one Oklahoma congressional member, Sen. James Lankford, called for improvements in the background check system. President Donald Trump signaled a similar position on Monday.

Here's a look at the amounts of campaign cash given by the NRA to candidates, including incumbents. The relatively low amounts likely reflect the fact that the NRA spends much of its money on competitive races, such as the presidential race, and less on races with more predictable outcomes for candidates who support the NRA.

Legislative candidates

Oklahoma candidates for legislative seats received $4,500 in the 2016 elections, filings with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission show. Oklahoma state candidates saw the following contributions from the NRA's Political Victory Fund in 2016:

Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City: $1,000;Rep. Jeff Dale Coody, R-Grandfield: $1,000;Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow: $1,000; andRep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston: $1,500.

The NRA also gave $5,000 to the Committee for the Inauguration of Gov. Mary Fallin in February 2015. In 2016, the organization gave $200 to the Republican State House Committee, which recruits GOP candidates.

Congressional candidates

Nationwide, the NRA donated $18,950 in the 2016 election cycle to Oklahoma U.S. House and Senate candidates, all Republicans, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The amounts:

U.S. Rep. James Bridenstine: $2,000;U.S. Rep. Tom Cole: $3,000;U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas: $2,000;U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin: $4,950;U.S. Rep. Steve Russell: $2,000. (Russell owns a company that manufactures firearms online.);U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe: $0. (During his most recent campaign, in the 2014, election cycle, he received $9,450.);U.S. Sen. James Lankford: $5,000.

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