Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called the National Rifle Association the "worst organization in this country" during a Fox News town hall on Sunday in which she repeatedly lied about the gun-rights group.
In response, the NRA released a letter Gillibrand wrote a top NRA executive more than a decade ago that exposes Gillibrand as a Second Amendment hypocrite.
What did the letter say?
Despite now clamoring for gun control, Gillibrand wrote to Chris Cox, the director of the NRA's lobbying arm, in 2008 expressing a "full description" of her position on the Second Amendment that mirrors conservatives — not liberals.
"I want to be very clear that I always have and always will believe that the correct interpretation of the 2nd amendment is that it applies to an individual's right to carry guns," Gillibrand wrote.
Addressing the heart of modern progressive gun control proposals — which seek to limit the circulation of certain firearms based mostly on arbitrary details like cosmetic features — Gillibrand expressed opposition to such laws.
"On the question of outright banning certain firearms for cosmetic features, bullets of a certain size, or banning magazines holding an arbitrary number of cartridges, I am adamantly opposed and do not believe that laws should be based on random limits just for the sake of limiting gun ownership or usage," she wrote.
Gillibrand, who at the time was a member of the House, even warned that certain gun control laws "could contribute to the slippery slope of government confiscation of people's firearms based on the arbitrary whims of politics and public opinion" and boasted about writing an amicus brief for D.C. v. Heller, the most important Supreme Court case in American history for protecting Second Amendment rights.
- Admonished attempts to prevent those in public housing from owning firearms
- Expressed concerns over the development of "smart guns"
- Boasted about supporting legislation that protects Second Amendment rights
- Said she supports hunting on federally owned land
- Praised the NRA's work to "protect gun owners rights"
What has driven Gillibrand's change?
While her campaign claimed Gillibrand experienced a change-of-heart, there is a more practical reason to explain the change in position.
When Gillibrand wrote the letter in September 2008, she represented one of the most conservative, rural congressional districts in New York. Although New York has since undergone district remapping, many of the counties that Gillibrand represented have lax gun laws compared to most other regions in the northeast.
At the time, it would have been politically expeditous for Gillibrand to support the NRA and the Second Amendment.
That all would change in just a few months when Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate in order to fill the seat left vacant by Hillary Clinton, who had been appointed as secretary of state.
Since 2009, Gillibrand has represented, overall, a very liberal constituency and her views on the Second Amendment, the NRA, and gun control now magically align with the majority of those who keep her in office.
What did Gillibrand's campaign say?
"Senator Gillibrand has directly addressed her changed position on guns on countless occasions, in detail, and even if the NRA can't, it's time for the media to move on from this tired and well-worn narrative," campaign national spokesman Evan Lukaske said in a statement, according to Politico.
"The fact is that Senator Gillibrand has earned an 'F' from the NRA for the past decade because she is leading the fight for common sense gun violence prevention," he said.