A Republican lawmaker has ended his reelection bid after facing backlash over his gun control stance.
New York Rep. Chris Jacobs made the announcement Friday, just a week after expressing support for an assault weapons ban. The 55-year-old lawmaker, who was previously endorsed by the National Rife Association, was widely criticized by fellow GOP members who demanded he drop out of the race or risk a primary challenge.
“Last Friday, I made remarks before the press regarding my support of some gun control measures. Since that time, every Republican elected official that endorsed me, withdrew their endorsement, as did many Republican committees,” Jacobs said during a Friday press conference, as reported by the New York Post. “Despite this backlash, I truly believe I could have won this election, but it would be incredibly divisive.”
He continued: “We have a problem in our country in terms of both our major parties. If you stray from a party position, you are annihilated. For the Republicans, it became pretty apparent to me over the last week that that issue is gun control. Any gun control.”
Congressman Chris Jacobs @RepJacobs just announced he will not run for election in NY-23 after losing support from Republicans and Conservatives for making remarks a week ago in support of a federal assault weapons ban. pic.twitter.com/R0PbCT2jfL
— Ryan Whalen (@RyanWhalenCT) June 3, 2022
Jacobs currently represents New York’s 27th Congressional District, which includes some of Buffalo’s suburbs. He said he changed his stance on gun control following the recent Buffalo supermarket shooting that left 10 people dead. The 18-year-old gunman reportedly used an assault-style rifle to carry out the attack, which is being investigated as a racially motivated hate crime. The gunman reportedly told authorities he had targeted a Black community. Eleven out of the 13 people who were shot were Black.
“I want to be completely transparent of where I am in Congress,” Jacobs said during a press conference last week. “If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it. Why does a civilian need a 30 or 50-round magazine either for recreation or hunting? I believe something along the lines of 10 is perfectly reasonable [...] I haven’t heard this discussed at this point in time. I’m speaking out because I think that it’s something we need to discuss because I can’t in good conscience sit back and say I didn’t try to do something.”