On January 6, after hiding as the Capitol was attacked, and Officer Brian Sicknick was dying, Lee Zeldin emerged from his safe haven, joined his MAGA squad, and refused to certify the election of President Joe Biden.
He does not represent the 1st Congressional District honorably or effectively, and has spent his years in office hiding from his constituents and supporting the National Rifle Association instead of the people he represents.
New York has strong gun laws and the second-lowest gun death rate in the nation. Zeldin’s long, toxic history with his NRA “A rating” is clearer now than ever.
Despite the recent carnage in Buffalo, overturning NY SAFE, the very law passed in 2013 that makes us safer, is his No. 1 priority. Removing red flag laws, magazine limits and renewable permits, and overturning our concealed carry law and replacing it with National Concealed Carry, is his top priority. He opposes national instant background checks, and his NRA funders have successfully decapitated and underfunded the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, making it harder to enforce firearms laws. These decisions have catastrophic consequences.
The 1st Congressional District’s large population of police officers is the first line of defense in our communities, and often the first line of injury. Last year, more law enforcement officers were intentionally killed in the line of duty than any year since September 11, 2001.
Children in schools won’t get help from Zeldin, either, at a time when gun violence is the No. 1 cause of death of children in America.
Despite abundant evidence of its danger, Zeldin continues to support the NRA’s National Concealed Carry bill, which would bring hundreds of thousands more handguns into New York by requiring every state to allow all legal gun owners to carry concealed handguns across state lines if that state permitted concealed carry. New York would be forced to allow handguns from all other states into our communities.
There are 400 million firearms in America, and the number of concealed handgun permits has soared since the pandemic to over 21.52 million, a 48 percent increase since 2016 and a 10.5 percent increase since 2020. Sadly, these totals omit the guns carried in 21 constitutional carry states, like Texas, where people no longer need a permit to carry. Yes — legal gun owners like the Uvalde killer in Texas.
Adding more untraceable handguns to the thousands already reaching New York communities every year is a horrific idea and a gift to the many criminals or disaffected mass shooters who are looking for them.
This NRA trash bag of deadly ideas deserves no place in New York State or the 1st Congressional District — and neither does Lee Zeldin.
Hilly is the former executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence — Ed.