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Republican Sides With Dems On Gun Control, Days Later His Career Is Finished

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A New York Republican House representative has ended his career after siding with Democrats on gun control.

New York Rep. Chris Jacobs said he will not seek reelection after he announced his support for a ban on AR15s and other so called assault weapons, among other gun control measures, The Buffalo News reported.

Next week he plans to vote for a Democrat bill in the House that would ban high-capacity magazines and move the minimum age for buying an assault weapon from 18 to 21 and he is working with Democrats on a bill that would ban the purchase of certain body armor.

Siding with House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi cost him every endorsement he had.

“This obviously arises out of last Friday, my remarks, statements on being receptive to gun controls,” he said. “And since that time, every Republican elected (official) that had endorsed me withdrew their endorsement. Party officials that supported me withdrew, most of them, and those that were going to said they would not. And so, obviously, this was not well received by the Republican base.”

This is his first term in Congress and, for now, it appears it will be his last.

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State Republican Party Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy immediately started getting signatures on a petition to potentially challenge him in the August primary and former GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino said he would campaign in the primary, quickly gaining the endorsement of Rep. Elise Stefanik.

“I am proud to announce my endorsement of my friend Carl Paladino in #NY23,” Stefanik said. “Carl is a job creator and conservative outsider who will be a tireless fighter for the people of New York in our fight to put America First to save the country.”

Jacobs said that he believed he could still win but chose not to have a contentious primary.

“I truly believe that I could win this, but it would be an incredibly divisive race for our party, for the district,” he said. “There’s a high likelihood that there would be a lot of outside money coming in, so it would make this gun issue the issue. And that divisiveness is not good in any effort to move this discussion forward in a productive way.”

He made the pro-gun control statements at a press conference after the mass shooting at a Tops supermarket weeks ago.

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“I want to be completely transparent of where I am in Congress. If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it,” he said.

“I hope I’ve been compassionate when I read and heard about previous incidents like this that have happened over the years, but I guess there’s just something markedly different when it happens in your city, to people you know,” he said in an interview with The Buffalo News. “This has been a profoundly impactful event for me.”

“Being a father and having young children and visualizing what those parents are going through and, I guess, being able to feel it more personally certainly has had an impact as well,” the representative said.

“Individuals cannot buy beer, they cannot get cigarettes until 21. I think it’s perfectly reasonable that the age limit at least for these highly lethal, high- capacity semiautomatic weapons should be 21,” he argued.

“I think it’s reasonable to say: does a civilian need more than a 10 round magazine in their in their guns?” he said. “And I think that that’s the type of thing where you really need a national policy because otherwise, you know, (higher-capacity) magazines are going to be floating around from state to state.”

But when he campaigned for the job he touted the endorsement he received from the National Rifle Association.

“It is truly an honor to be the only candidate to receive the endorsement of the NRA for NY-27,” he said. “I have always stood with law-abiding gun owners. I promise to uphold this commitment to protecting our rights, and Western New York gun owners can rest assured they have an ally and a fighter for them in Congress with me.”

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