Just when everyone thought that the NRA-backed GOP Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY) announcing his support for gun reform was an act of decency and common sense, the Republican lawmaker caved to pressure and withdrew his bid for re-election amid backlash from gun rights groups and his party establishment.
Back in May – just days after the Uvalde massacre – the Republican representative said in a press conference that he’d vote for legislation banning AR-15s.
“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’d vote for it.” Jacobs bravely admitted.
— Ryan Whalen (@RyanWhalenCT) May 27, 2022
In the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24th and the earlier mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York grocery store less than two weeks prior, calls for common-sense gun control legislation have been fierce and vocal — with those on the left putting pressure on gun-supporting politicians and lobbies to “do something.” But while cries for stricter gun laws – like universal background checks and red flags laws – have fallen on deaf ears, Jacobs’ statements appeared to be an act of courage.
Unfortunately, that earlier courage soon fizzled out once the negative reactions to his stance from other Republicans and the vocal mass of extremist 2nd amendment fanatics began to fill his inbox.
Despite knowing one of the victims of the Top’s shooting in Buffalo – education activist Katherine “Kat” Massey – from his tenure at the Buffalo Board of Education, and despite having had conversations with some of his former African-American colleagues, Jacobs’ pledge to victims of gun violence to support them in the chambers of Congress was short-lived, as evidenced by Jacobs’ withdrawal from the race for re-election.
A primary battle was brewing, with challenges from local Republicans Carl Paladino, endorsed by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who announced her endorsement on Twitter.
🚨 MAJOR NY ENDORSEMENT 🚨
I am proud to announce my endorsement of my friend Carl Paladino in #NY23.
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.
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) June 3, 2022
But, even with a potentially heated primary, Jacobs said he believed he could win his race. Buffalo News quoted Jacobs as saying:
“I truly believe that I could win this, but it would be an incredibly divisive race for our party, for the district. There’s a high likelihood that there would be a lot of outside money combining in, so it would make the gun issue the issue. And that divisiveness is not good in any effort to move this discussion forward in a productive way.”
The GOP congressman dropped out despite his confidence in his ability to win re-election.
Spectrum News reported that Jacobs told those in attendance at the May 27th presser that he believed a 10-round magazine – as opposed to the current 30 or 50 round one – was “perfectly reasonable.” Yet, the legislator has decided to take his advocacy outside the walls of the institution where he currently serves and could best get that done.
By choosing to leave his seat at the end of the Congressional term, Jacobs further proves that hollow words and performative actions seem to be the only way the GOP knows how to operate.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick