Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) declared the National Rifle Association to be "the worst organization in this country" during a Fox News town hall Sunday night.
Asked what she would to do regarding guns and whether her policies would have prevented Friday's massacre in Virginia Beach, Gillibrand said too many families were being torn apart because of gun violence. She ripped into the NRA, from which she once had an A-rating in the House of Representatives.
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"I think the most outrageous thing that's happened to our democracy is how much fear and division and hatred has been spread," she said. "I think the NRA is the worst organization in this country for doing exactly that. They care more about their profits than the American people. They care more about selling guns to someone on the terror watch list or someone with grave mental illness or someone who has a violent criminal background. They're against universal background checks."
Gillibrand called on Americans to stand up to the NRA's "greed and corruption." She pivoted to her call for publicly funded elections as a means of getting money out of politics, and she pledged to bring about universal background checks and to ban bump stocks, large magazines, "assault rifles," and "military-style weapons."
"Once we get money out of politics, the NRA will end its chokehold on members of Congress who have no courage to stand up to them and do the right thing on behalf of their constituents and the American people," she said.
Fox News moderator Chris Wallace later pointed out her formerly pro-gun voting position in Congress, asking if that was "brave," a theme of her campaign. As she has done before, Gillibrand pointed to her "rural" House district in the 2000s as the reason for her views before she quickly shifted once she was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009. She has compiled one of the Senate's most liberal voting records.
Her old views on guns and immigration have been a sore spot as she seeks the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. She has frequently apologized and even said she was "embarrassed" by her past positions.
Kirsten Gillibrand: "The NRA is the worst organization in this country. They care more about their profits than the American people, they care more about selling guns to someone on the terror watch list or w/grave mental illness or who has a violent criminal background"
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 2, 2019