Congressman Chris Jacobs (R-NY), who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in 2020, said he would support a ban on assault weapons following two horrific mass shootings at a grocery store in New York and an elementary school in Texas.
Jacobs made the remarks — a contradiction to the Republican party’s staunch stance on gun laws — during a news conference on Friday.
“If an assault weapons ban bill came to the floor that would ban something like an AR-15, I would vote for it,” he said, according to The Buffalo News. “So I want to be clear: I would vote for it.”
Jacobs, a Republican from New York who was endorsed by the NRA in 2020, also said he is in favor of raising the age for some gun purchases to 21.
“Individuals cannot buy beer, they cannot get cigarettes until 21. I think it’s perfectly reasonable that the age limit at least for these highly lethal, high-capacity semi automatic weapons should be 21,” he said.
The congressman reiterated his sentiments in an interview with The Buffalo News. He said he had to rethink his stance after 19 children and two teachers were gunned down Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde more than a week after 10 people were killed at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo.
“I hope I’ve been compassionate when I read and heard about previous incidents like this that have happened over the years, but I guess there’s just something markedly different when it happens in your city, to people you know,” Jacobs told The Buffalo News. “This has been a profoundly impactful event for me.”
He said the shooting in Texas also touched him.
“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,” he told the newspaper.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden again called on Congress to pass gun reform legislation. Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday attended the funeral of Ruth Whitfield, who was killed in the Buffalo shooting, saying “enough is enough.”
“We will come together based on what we all know we have in common, and we will not let those people who are motivated by hate separate us or make us feel fear,” she told mourners. “I’m here to say that we are all in this together. No one should ever be made to fight alone.”
Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.