Can military experience help candidates gain credibility on gun control?

Someone just forwarded me a recent ad run by a Democratic challenger in NY-19 that’s worth a look:

Pat Ryan, a OIF combat veteran who graduated from West Point, is mounting a challenge in a district that is definitely in the “doable” category. The incumbent, John Faso, is a freshman Republican who won in 2016 by a slim margin in a district that Obama carried both times. Trump moved it red in 2016, but this winnable district is likely to attract DCCC support.

What caught my eye, especially given how purple the district is, was the use of military experience to convey issue competence. He’s holding an assault rifle in his hands while discusses their lethality–along with clever imagery of children in schools donning flak jackets and helmets to try to tie AR-15s with battlefields instead of 2nd Amendment home defense postures.

There is precedent for this sort of move, but the outcome did not go the way the Dems hoped it would last cycle. Check out his ad that conveys this candidate’s intimate familiarity with the weapon:

Jason Kander was narrowly defeated by Roy Blunt in the Missouri US Senate contest. Kander certainly overperformed the party baseline for the Show-Me State (Hillary Clinton earned 38% of the popular vote), and this ad certainly was among the most memorable of the cycle.

I expect to see more Democratic veterans, especially those with combat experience, do this sort of thing–in ads, on the stump, and in debates.