A Republican congressman is dropping his bid for reelection after backlash from his own party over his stance on stronger gun regulation.
Rep. Chris Jacobs (R-N.Y.) said he would support a ban on the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle following the white supremacist mass shooting in Buffalo last month that left 10 people dead and the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which a gunman killed 21 people.
“If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it,” Jacobs told reporters last week.
“I can’t in good conscience sit back and say I didn’t try to do something,” he added.
But on Friday, Jacobs announced he would abandon his bid for reelection after intense backlash from his own party, including from local party leaders who pulled their support, The Buffalo News reported.
“This obviously arises out of last Friday, my remarks, statements on being receptive to gun controls,” Jacobs told the publication. “And since that time, every Republican elected [official] that had endorsed me withdrew their endorsement. Party officials that supported me withdrew, most of them, and those that were going to [support me] said they would not. And so obviously, this was not well received by the Republican base.”
Though he scored a 92% rating with the gun rights group Gun Owners of America and was endorsed by the NRA in 2020, Jacobs said the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings changed his perspective on easy access to assault weapons.
“Being a father and having young children and visualizing what those parents are going through and, I guess, being able to feel it more personally certainly has had an impact as well,” Jacobs told The Buffalo News.