Three Potential Challengers Jointly Rap Gillibrand on Guns

Posted May 13, 2009 at 1:49pm

Updated: 4:19 p.m.

The three House Democrats who are talking openly of challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) next year joined together Wednesday to tout gun control legislation that they said highlights the appointed Senator’s shaky record on the issue.

Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, Carolyn Maloney and Steve Israel teamed up for a Capitol Hill news conference on the No Fly, No Buy Act, which would bar people from buying guns if their names are on the Transportation Security Administration’s “no fly list— of suspected terrorists.

While none would confirm that they are running for Senate, their willingness to appear together and tweak Gillibrand suggested that they could put together a potent coalition if one decides to run against her and the others endorse the challenger.

Asked if they expect support on the bill from Gillibrand, who during her House career received high marks from the National Rifle Association, McCarthy replied, “Don’t get me started.—

Gillibrand “has changed her opinion on a lot to do with guns,— McCarthy said. “Basically, throw up an issue, and she has changed her opinion on it. … At reckless speed.—

McCarthy said Gillibrand’s more recent support of some gun measures after a record of opposing gun control was “strictly a very strong political move.—

“I don’t know what she stands for,— said McCarthy, adding that she would prefer a New York Senator with “more values— and who “really has the interests of the people of New York— at heart.

Matt Canter, a Gillibrand spokesman, said that while Gillibrand had not seen the legislation, she supports bills to reduce gun violence and is eager to work with her colleagues.

“As a mother and lawmaker, Sen. Gillibrand has always opposed gun violence and has always supported measures that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people.—

Despite their insistence that they were there to talk policy, politics was undeniably in the air.

Israel, for one, said he was “not prepared to talk about prospective politics of New York— at the press event.

But in his next breath, he said he has been in the House for nine years and pledged to engage the entire New York delegation in his potential campaign, “were I to make a decision to run.—

Maloney had an announcement to make: “I’m announcing my support for Carolyn [McCarthy].—