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WNY politicians' reactions to House passing semi-automatic gun ban

Reactions came from members of congress from Western New York and other local leaders.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that revived a ban on semi-automatic guns. This prompted reactions from Western New York politicians. 

Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) voted in favor of the bill. Jacobs announced in May that his views on gun control changed following the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas. 

Jacobs' change in views led to many political attacks that he cited as his reason to not run for reelection in New York's newly formed 23rd congressional district.

He released the following statement after the vote:

“Two months ago, following the massacre of 10 people in Buffalo and the horrific killing of 19 children in Uvalde, I announced that I would support an assault weapon ban that stops the further sale and manufacture of AR-15 style weapons – the guns used in these and many other mass shootings. Today, that bill was brought to the floor of the House of Representatives and I voted in favor of it.

"I strongly support the Second Amendment and the right to self-defense and have a record of doing so. As Erie County Clerk, I ran our county’s Pistol Permitting Office, issuing over 10,000 pistol permits allowing citizens to avail themselves of their Second Amendment rights. However, what I do not support is easy access to high-powered semiautomatic weapons and large capacity magazines that have time and time again resulted in mass casualty shootings. These weapons have been proven to cause an immense amount of damage quickly - in Buffalo, 13 people were shot – 10 fatally – in less than 3 minutes.

"We have a duty to provide for the safety of all Americans. These weapons do not belong in our communities. While this bill is not perfect, I believe it will save innocent lives.

“I want to be clear; this legislation does not call for the confiscation of guns that are already legally owned today, they are grandfathered in the bill. Finally, gun reform is only one piece of solving our nation's gun violence problem. We need to work to increase security at our schools, provide resources to our law enforcement officers, and significantly enhance our mental health infrastructure. Our work is not done until we accomplish these goals as well."

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) spoke on the House floor in support of the bill, stating:

“No technology advances more quickly in our society than the technology of killing. Everyday weapons of mass destruction are being made and manipulated to kill more people more quickly. Buffalo, New York. May 14th. One shooter, a racist shooter, went into a supermarket on Jefferson Avenue and shot 13 people, killing 10 of them. The shooting started and was completed in two minutes and three second. One shooter. I’ve often heard it said that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. There was a good guy with a gun in the store that day that was working security. A retired 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department, but he was helpless, because he was out-gunned by the bad guy with a gun who had an assault rifle.”

New York State Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy, who is now running for Jacobs' seat, released the following statement:

"This is an outrageous, illegal assault on our Constitutional rights. Democrats don't care about public safety--they have no problem letting violent criminals and gang members get out of jail free, but they will do everything in their power to trample on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Nancy Pelosi and the gun grabbers need to all be fired this November."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown shared his support of the bill on Twitter:

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