Kirsten, Kirsten, why have thou forsaken me? Gillibrand voted no on the DC gun rights amendment. I think at this point, it is safe to say that my public advocacy for her is at an end. In the battle to influence Gilly, and convince her to keep her A rating on the gun issue, gun owners in New York and elsewhere have lost, and the New York Times, Newsday, and Michael Bloomberg have won.
I do not regret my early advocacy for her. She came out of the house with an A-rating and a solid, if not long record of being pro-gun, including supporting key issues like ATF reform, Tiahrt, Heller, DC gun rights, and other things. She is still likely to be better than the likely Democratic or Republican alternatives. New York is not Tennessee, Texas, or even Pennsylvania on the gun issue. It will be a long road back to somebody like Al D’Amato for New York gun owners.
It is a stark lesson that principles often take a back seat in politics. I’ve had it on good word from people who have dealt with Kirsten Gillibrand that she was a real believer in the Second Amendment, and I have little doubt she is, but she’s obviously more of a believer in winning elections. She’s early in her political career, and has been elevated, with very little money in her campaign fund, to a state wide Senatorial office. She’s facing the very real prospect of a primary challenge from the left, followed up by a tough battle against her Republican opponent. She will likely never be more politically weak than she is right now, and she might, ultimately, end up defeated. I still hold out the possibility that the Kirsten Gillibrand who emerges from all this, won’t be anti-gun, but for now, she’s on her own. If gun owners in New York want to make the strategic move of supporting her because she’s better than the awful alternatives, that’s up to them, but she has a lot to make up to me before I’ll support her again.