“I don’t know why this [crime] is so important to you.”
With one dismissive comment, New York’s Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul encapsulated why New Yorkers may rock the Empire State political landscape and make their #GUNVOTE concerns a reality at the ballot boxes on Nov. 8. Crime and safety was front and center during a debate between Gov. Hochul and challenger U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and the differences could not be more drastic.
Gov. Hochul enjoys an armed private security detail paid for by New York taxpayers. She’s made it a priority to ram through anti-Second Amendment laws that have been struck down as unconstitutional, that only affects lawful gun owners and does nothing to hold criminals accountable.
Rep. Zeldin was physically attacked by a man wielding a blade at a rally and his daughters were home alone when criminals exchanged gunfire right off his residence’s front porch. He has a record in Congress of standing up for the Second Amendment and a strong message of getting tough on criminals.
Read The Room
— New York Post Metro (@nypmetro) October 24, 2022
Gov. Hochul has tried to pull the wool over on voters, reiterating that their safety concerns are baseless and more about a “sense of fear” than on fact. Perception is reality and for the governor, it’s both. Voters are concerned and they should be. Rep. Zeldin went to bat for New Yorkers.
“This governor – we’re halfway through the debate – she still has not talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes,” Rep. Zeldin challenged.
“Under our laws…anyone that commits a crime, has consequences. I don’t know why that’s so important to you,” Gov. Hochul shot back.
MUST WATCH…Why are Dems in trouble in NY Gov? This attitude toward crime and safety
Zeldin: She still hasn’t talked about locking up anyone committing any crimes
Hochul: Anyone who commits a crime under our laws…has consequences…I don’t know why that’s so important to you pic.twitter.com/uO3Vkf83OC
— Jesse Hunt (@JJHunt10) October 25, 2022
Gov. Hochul has deflected blame and instead passed more laws that penalize law-abiding New Yorkers instead of criminals perpetuating violence. She admonished New York media who pressed her for data behind her laws.
“I don’t need to have the numbers,” she said. “I don’t need to have the data point.”
Anne: Do you have numbers to show that it’s the concealed carry permit holders that are committing crimes?
Hochul: I don’t need to have numbers. I don’t need to have a data point to say this. I know that I have a responsibility for this state to have sensible gun safety laws. pic.twitter.com/NiCp7POO88
— Anne McCloy (@AnneMcCloyNews) June 29, 2022
The laws she’s passed have turned law-abiding New Yorkers into criminals. Now, among several additional restrictions, social media accounts must be reviewed by anyone applying for a handgun permit. She also expanded the list of locations where legal carry permit holders cannot carry their firearms, despite the fact that criminals ignore these limitations.
Gov. Hochul even tried to turn around the narrative and tries to reassure voters she’s “doing something” by holding a for-show press event before the debate with troubled Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James to hype their efforts after passing the restrictive laws. Not everyone was impressed.
“Gun crimes in Albany are overwhelmingly committed using guns that are obtained illegally,” Albany Democratic District Attorney David Soares told media. “Red Flag Laws cannot be used to stop the many gangland warriors patrolling the streets with ghost guns, stolen guns, and community guns.”
Rep. Zeldin made his case for a different path. It wasn’t just talk, either. His record in Congress backs up his belief in the Second Amendment and keeping New Yorkers safe. It earned him an “A” rating from NSSF.
Rep. Zeldin raised the flaws in Gov. Hochul’s approach to restricting the law-abiding New Yorkers’ rights. He spoke about the governor’s blaming of law-abiding gun owners for criminals’ actions.
“Unfortunately Kathy Hochul believes the only crimes that are being committed are these crimes with [illegal] guns. We have people who are afraid of being pushed in front of on-coming subway cars, they’re being stabbed and beaten to death on the streets with hammers,” the congressman fired back. “Instead we have Kathy Hochul patting herself on the back, ‘Job well done.’”
He’s got a point. The FBI once again released data this year showing more murders were committed last year by knives, clubs and fists than by all rifles, let alone the Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) that Gov. Hochul supports banning nationwide. It’s why Rep. Zeldin voted against a Congressional ban on the popular firearm and instead is focused on holding criminals accountable and ensuring guns stay out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Polling shows Rep. Zeldin may become the first pro-Second Amendment Republican governor in New York in 30 years. With more than 1 million first-time New York gun buyers since 2020 according to NSSF NICS-adjusted data, his focus on crime and the Second Amendment might be the difference and Gov. Hochul may find herself in need of a good moving company. NSSF encourages New York voters to get out to the polls and #GUNVOTE so they don’t risk their rights.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.