NY GOP candidates offer sympathies on Texas shooting, but mostly keep mum on gun reform

Concealed Carry

“On issues like Roe v. Wade and school shootings, and the Buffalo massacre, independents will gravitate sharply away from the Republican position,” Gyory said. “Now you have the Republicans in a dilemma of having a disconnect between what’s popular in their primary and what they would need to win a general election.”

Even so, past and recent statements from the GOP candidates indicate staunch support for gun rights, most notably Zeldin, who appeared at a campaign rally recently opposing the 2013 NY SAFE Act in a video leaked to Spectrum News/NY1. Zeldin voted against the measure when he was in the state Senate.

“[You] should not have your right taken away by the government,” Zeldin told attendees, according to the video.

Katie Vincentz, a spokesperson, reiterated his stance in a statement to Gothamist.

“There’s no doubt that the Buffalo shooter and others intending to do harm to innocent civilians should not have access to a firearm, but attempts to prevent that cannot target law-abiding citizens,” said Vincentz.

Giuliani, however, remained non-committal. In a statement, Giuliani said increasing the police budget will help make a difference in making it harder for “criminals to get their hands on guns to commit crimes.”

“We need to fully support law enforcement to protect families and most importantly, our children,” Giuliani wrote.

Astorino, meanwhile, has also voiced strong support for gun rights. This month, he backed the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court allowing for concealed carry, a ruling that has significant consequences nationwide and could potentially water down New York’s strict gun laws. He did not return an email seeking further comment.

Harry Wilson most recently expressed support for Second Amendment rights, telling the Adirondack Daily Enterprise newspaper that gun violence should not infringe on individual rights. His campaign did not return an email seeking comment.

The comments stand in stark relief to those of Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is seeking a full term as governor and has introduced stricter gun law proposals. Hochul’s stance on guns, though, represents something of a reversal for the Democrat who received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association in 2012 when she ran for Congress.

Gyory, the political strategist, says the gun debate will continue to rage during the race as election season heads into November, but it’s likely to take a different turn when candidates are looking to win a general election.

“Sometimes you can get away with words, but there’s just something about protecting students in schools. On top of the predisposition, we know of a large majority, somewhere between 60 and 65% of voters who support gun safety measures in New York, that words are not going to be enough,” Gyory said. “And that if you’re perceived as being dismissive of those views, and voters are placing a priority on it. You’re going to have a problem.”

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