Jun 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

N.Y. Republican drops re-election bid amid backlash over gun control support

Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) in Washington, D.C., in April 2022.

Rep. Chris Jacobs. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) announced Friday that he would not seek re-election for his seat after losing the support of his fellow Republicans for endorsing gun control measures following the Buffalo mass shooting that killed 10 people.

Why it matters: Jacobs' abandoning his re-election campaign is another sign of the GOP's entrenchment in gun rights and may serve as a warning for other Republicans as pressure mounts on Congress to pass new gun control legislation.

Days after the Buffalo shooting, Jacobs — who represents the Buffalo area — said he would support legislation that would ban access to AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles, restrict magazine capacity to 10 rounds and raise the minimum age to buy a firearm to 21, according to WKBW, a New York-based ABC affiliate.

  • Support for Jacobs' re-election campaign was retracted by the chair of the Conservative Party of New York State, and he was heavily criticized by fellow Republicans, the New York Post reports.

What they're saying: "Despite this backlash, I truly believe I could win this election. But it would be an incredibly divisive election for both the Republican Party and for the people of the 23rd District," Jacobs said on Friday.

  • "The last thing we need is an incredibly negative, half-truth filled, media attack funded by millions of dollars of special interest money coming into our community around this issue of guns, gun violence and gun control" he added.

The big picture: Jacobs, who was endorsed by the NRA in 2020, is currently serving his first term in the House.

  • He was expected to win re-election before he publicly supported the gun control measures, despite the fact that his district was redrawn in a new election map, according to the New York Times.
  • The FBI is investigating the Buffalo shooting as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism, as 11 of the 13 victims were Black and the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack was inscribed with a racial epithet and a white supremacist numeric symbol.

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