Kirsten Gillibrand on Gun Control
Democratic Senator (NY)
Gillibrand announced she was running for president. Formerly a U.S. representative in upstate New York before being appointed to the Senate, Gillibrand has established herself as one of the chamber's most liberal members and is forming her campaign in part around her advocacy for women.
However, Maddow didn't let her off the hook for her old views on issues like guns and immigration, discussing what she called Gillibrand's "conservative bona fides" in unseating a GOP congressman in New York in 2006. Gillibrand had an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association.
"Senator Gillibrand has had a transformation. She has changed a great deal on policy in the decade since she was a card-carrying member of the Blue Dog Democrats," Maddow said. "She has been on her own party's right. She has been on her own party's left."
She was confronted with her ideological shift during a 60 Minutes segment last February, explaining how she went from having an "A" rating from the NRA to an "F."
"I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities," Gillibrand recounted. "And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn't have been more wrong--you know, I only had the lens of upstate New York." She went on to say that she was "embarrassed" because she had in fact lived in New York City for a decade.
Still, the pro-gun reform lawmaker offered some hope for future reform based on Tuesday's elections. "I do believe things are changing. And the reason why I believe that is because we had candidates run in this last election who ran on this issue," she said.
Still, Gillibrand foresaw more work ahead of Democrats to pass stricter gun laws. "We have to obviously flip the Senate to be able to do whatever the House could do, that common-sense reform," Gillibrand said. "But I think the country is in a place where we will fight this until we get it done because you need these basic reforms."
DioGuardi said voters could get "whiplash" watching Gillibrand's policy changes. "She sounded like Annie Oakley, and now she's somebody different," DioGuardi said.
But all that changed when Hillary's seat opened up, and she shamelessly promoted herself as a candidate to fill it. Within days Gillibrand's raw ambition had trumped her stated principles, and she began flipping on all kinds of critical issues. As a new senator, Gillibrand was transformed from a rabid opponent of gun control--with a 100% rating from the NRA--to a cosponsor of gun control legislation. In 2007, she had sponsored a bill to delete background check information after 24 hours; now she suddenly voted to repeal her very own bill.
Does she still keep two guns under her bed, as she claimed during the campaign? She hasn't said.
Gillibrand moved to bridge the political & cultural divide, shunning political labels and even embracing Second Amendment gun rights and other positions that placed her outside the mainstream of her party.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. BLUMENTHAL: This amendment would ban high-capacity magazines which are used to kill more people more quickly and, in fact, have been used in more than half the mass shootings since 1982. I ask my colleagues to listen to law enforcement, their police, prosecutors who are outgunned by criminals who use these high-capacity magazines. I ask that my colleagues also listen to the families of those killed by people who used a high-capacity magazine.
Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. GRASSLEY. I oppose the amendment. In 2004, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine ban, a Department of Justice study found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted. Additionally, tens of millions of these magazines have been lawfully owned in this country for decades. They are in common use, not unusually dangerous, and used by law-abiding citizens in self-defense, as in the case of law enforcement.
On page 37, between lines 8 and 9, insert the following: "Allowing Amtrak Passengers to Securely Transport Firearms on Passenger Trains.--None of amounts made available in the reserve fund authorized under this section may be used to provide financial assistance for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) unless Amtrak passengers are allowed to securely transport firearms in their checked baggage.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ROGER WICKER (R, MS). This amendment aims to ensure that gun owners and sportsmen are able to transport securely firearms aboard Amtrak trains in checked baggage, a practice that is done thousands of times a day at airports across the country. I emphasize that this amendment deals with checked, secured baggage only. It would return Amtrak to a pre-9/11 practice. It does not deal with carry-on baggage. Unlike the airline industry, Amtrak does not allow the transport of firearms in checked bags. This means that sportsmen who wish to use Amtrak trains for hunting trips cannot do so because they are not allowed to check safely a firearm.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D, NJ): I object to this disruptive amendment offered by the Senator from Mississippi. He wants to enable the carrying of weapons, guns, in checked baggage. One doesn't have to be very much concerned about what we are doing when they look at the history of attacks on railroads in Spain and the UK and such places. This amendment has no place here interrupting the budgetary procedure. The pending amendment is not germane and, therefore, I raise a point of order that the amendment violates section 305(b)(2) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
While widely recognized today as a major political force and as America's foremost defender of Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has, since its inception, been the premier firearms education organization in the world. But our successes would not be possible without the tireless efforts and countless hours of service our nearly three million members have given to champion Second Amendment rights and support NRA programs.
The following ratings are based on lifetime voting records on gun issues and the results of a questionaire sent to all Congressional candidates; the NRA assigned a letter grade (with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest).
Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
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Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
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About Kirsten Gillibrand: