GOP Representative to Retire for Supporting Assault Weapons Ban bashes ‘orthodoxy’ on weapons

GOP Representative to Retire for Supporting Assault Weapons Ban bashes ‘orthodoxy’ on weapons

GOP Representative to Retire for Supporting Assault Weapons Ban bashes ‘orthodoxy’ on weapons

  • Representative Chris Jacobs waived re-election after facing backlash for changing his mind about gun control.
  • After the mass shooting in Buffalo, he said he would support a ban on assault weapons if it hit the ground.
  • “I think we have a real problem in the party right now — both sides,” he said, referring to “orthodoxy” on things like guns.

New York Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs — who left an otherwise safe re-election campaign after speaking out for greater gun restrictions — is warning of the effects of political polarization on American democracy.

“I think we have a real problem in the party right now – both sides,” Jacobs told Politico. “If you’re not stuck with that orthodoxy in either party, you can’t do it. And I just don’t think that’s good for the functioning of our democracy.”

In the wake of a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket motivated by white supremacy, Jacobs said at a press conference that he would vote for a ban on assault weapons.

“I want to be completely transparent about where I stand in Congress,” he said. “If there were a bill to ban assault weapons that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it.”

After both the Buffalo shooting and a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 children and two teachers, House Democrats introduced a slew of new gun control measures, although they do not include a ban on assault weapons. Most House Republicans voted against the measures after party leadership sent a memo to full members of National Rifle Association talking points against the reform.

But Jacobs was one of five House Republicans to vote for a so-called “red flag” bill that would allow courts to deny gun purchases to individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others, and he was one of ten Republicans to vote. to raise the weapons. purchase age for semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 years.

“I wanted to be honest. I could have walked through the primary, which I would win and say nothing, and then just say, ‘Oh, by the way, I’ve changed my stance on this,'” Jacobs also told Politico.

But Jacobs instead chose not to run for re-election, saying he didn’t want to see a “negative” campaign on the matter.

“It would be incredibly divisive for both the Republican Party and the people of the 23rd District,” he said at a news conference announcing his decision. “The last thing we need is an incredibly negative, half-truth-filled media attack, funded by millions of dollars in special interest money coming into our community around this issue of guns and gun violence and gun control.”

That came after backlash from local Republicans over his comments about an assault weapons ban.

Donald Trump Jr. said that Jacobs “already gave in to the gun grabbers” by announcing his support for the measure. “He can’t help but get some glowing headlines from the mainstream media,” he said.

And Ralph Lorigo, chairman of the Erie County Conservative Party, told the New York Times that Jacobs “understood that this may have been political suicide.”

“His heart is in the right place, but we think he’s wrong in his thinking,” Lorigo said. “This quick jump that it’s suddenly the gun that kills people, as opposed to the person, is certainly not 100 percent true.”