New York: Anti-Gun Group Goes After Gillibrand

Posted January 21, 2009 at 5:20pm

With Hillary Rodham Clinton confirmed Wednesday as secretary of State, speculation about whom Gov. David Paterson (D) will name to the Senate is at a fevered pitch.

Even though speculation has focused on high-profile names such as Andrew Cuomo (D) and Caroline Kennedy (D), that didn’t prevent an anti-gun group, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, from launching a late attack on Tuesday against one of the dark-horse candidates for the Senate seat, Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D).

“Our representation in Washington is crucial to the well being of all New Yorkers and this is especially true in policy matters involving life and death,” the group’s executive director, Jackie Hilly, said in a statement. “It would be a mockery of what has been accomplished over the last decade making our streets safer to allow the NRA to dictate federal gun policy. Kirsten Gillibrand’s record on gun issues is just awful.”

In an interview with the Albany Times Union, Gillibrand attempted to deflect the criticism, noting that her upstate district has a heavy concentration of hunters and that her relatives hunt — her mother, she said, is the top marksman in the family and annually bags the family Thanksgiving turkey.

“In upstate New York, we have a very rich culture in hunting, and I think hunting rights are very important,” Gillibrand told the newspaper.

It’s unlikely that the opposition of the anti-gun group will affect Gillibrand’s chances to be named to the Senate. But she could use it — and her “A” rating from the National Rifle Association — as a badge of honor if she faces a tough re-election race this cycle in her conservative-leaning House district.