Albany – This morning, women legislators from the State Senate and Assembly gathered in the State Capitol and challenged the NRA to stop bullying women who support common-sense gun regulations with threats of violence and misogynistic rhetoric. Senator Roxanne Persaud and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, who received threats after introducing a bill to limit ammunition sales, including a tweet from the NRA featuring bullets placed next to their pictures, were joined by several other legislators who have faced similar responses, including Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Liz Krueger, and Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Ellen Jaffee, and Rebecca Seawright.
“I know first hand the kind of disgusting, hateful, and threatening rhetoric the NRA and their supporters use to intimidate anyone who dares propose common-sense gun regulations,” said Senator Krueger. “I’ve taken many controversial positions, but none has garnered as much misogynistic vitriol as my stance on guns; and in speaking with my male colleagues, it is clear that women face especially fierce attacks from gun extremists. Enough is enough – in the 21st century we should be able to debate gun policy without sexist bullies threatening us with sexual violence and death.”
The legislators gathered days before the 5th anniversary of the shooting attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in which thirteen people were injured and six killed, and one day after President Obama announced several executive orders to address rampant gun violence in the face of Congressional Republicans’ refusal to act.
“Given the charged rhetoric and heightened emotions regarding the gun safety issue, it is irresponsible for the NRA to express their sentiments in such a hostile manner,” said Sen. Persaud. “Placing bullets on pictures of elected officials, especially when we know that elected officials have been targeted by violent extremists in the past, is reckless and dangerous. The gun safety issue is a major concern for millions of New Yorkers, and as an elected official, my priority is to protect the lives and quality of life of my constituents. I will not be dissuaded from pushing for common sense restrictions on firearms and limits on dangerous ammunition and no threat from the NRA is going to change that fact.”
“Instead of joining in the discussion of common sense solutions to gun violence the NRA responds with intimidation and threats like some mafia thug,” said Assembly Member Simon. “They make good on their threats by calling followers to action with Tweeted images of our faces taped up and surrounded by bullets, unleashing a rash of insulting and misogynistic e-mails and telephone calls. We do not accept NRA activists’ denigration of women now, nor will we ever.”
“Women in New York have moxie. And Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon and Senator Roxanne Persaud have it in spades,” said Brette McSweeney, Executive Director of Eleanor’s Legacy. “What does the NRA have? Intimidation and inflammatory images meant to scare women in office who put public safety first. I am proud that in New York we elect women who won’t be bullied as they work to make our city and state safe.”
The NRA has recently attempted to improve its image among women, but continues to undermine these efforts through sexist rhetoric, such as attacking Shannon Watts, founder of Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense, as not sufficiently feminine because she once ran a business from home while being a full-time parent. Although consistently claiming underdog status, the NRA is actually a huge political spender, having given $21 million to politicians since 1990, compared to $1.9 million from gun regulation supporters in the same period.
There are several common-sense gun regulation bills currently active in the State Legislature, including:
- Closing the ammunition loophole and limiting the amount of ammunition that can be purchased over a 90-day period;
- Preventing child access to guns;
- Requiring handguns to microstamp shell casings;
- Creating a one-gun-a-month limit and waiting period for purchases;
- Removing firearms from the scene of domestic violence incidents;
- Banning .50 caliber sniper rifles;
- Improving the use of background checks.