NY Republican won’t run for second term after backing gun control

Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) on Friday announced he will not run for a second term in the House, one week after breaking from his party and announcing his support for an assault weapons ban.

“Today I am announcing that I will not run for the 23rd Congressional District. I will finish out my time … [as] a member of Congress to the end of the year,” Jacobs, who represents suburbs of Buffalo, said on Friday.

Jacobs, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in his 2020 congressional run, announced last week that he would support a bill to ban assault-style rifles if such a piece of legislation came to the floor. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who is retiring at the end of this term, has also expressed support for a ban on such weapons.

Jacobs also backed raising the required age for specific gun sales to 21 years old, enacting a federal limit on gun magazine capacities and prohibiting the sale of body armor to the public.

The New York Republican, who is currently serving his first full term in Congress, told The Buffalo News in an interview that he reconsidered his point of view toward guns after the mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, last month.

A white gunman killed 10 Black people in a racially motivated shooting at a Buffalo grocery store. Ten days later, 19 elementary school students and two adults were fatally shot at a school in Uvalde. The massacres reignited the gun control debate on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers now engaging in negotiations on various pieces of legislation.

Jacobs on Friday said every GOP elected official who endorsed him in his reelection bid has withdrawn their support since he backed gun control measures last week. He also said he lost the backing of GOP committees and the Republican and conservative parties in New York State.

The congressman said he ultimately decided to back out of the race to avoid an “incredibly divisive election.”

“Despite this backlash, I truly believe I can win this election, but it would be an incredibly divisive election for both the Republican Party and for the people of the 23rd district, many of whom I have not ever represented,” Jacobs said.

He currently represents the 27th Congressional District, but would have run for reelection in the 23rd District after redistricting.

“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, and gun violence and gun control,” he added.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, endorsed Buffalo developer Carl Paladino for the 23rd Congressional District on Friday. Paladino had said he would run for the seat if Jacobs backed out, according to The Buffalo News.

In a statement on Twitter, Stefanik said Paladino 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.”

Updated at 5:16 p.m.

Tags Adam Kinzinger assault weapons ban buffalo shooting Chris Jacobs Chris Jacobs Gun control New York Uvalde shooting
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