Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

In Wednesday’s debate, Republican Wendy Long accused Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of flip-flopping on gun control, changing her approach when she went from Congress to the U.S. Senate — a fact the incumbent didn’t contend.

Gillibrand said when she became a statewide officeholder, she learned of “gun-violence issues in New York State that weren't as prevalent in my old district.”

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Long, who calls herself a strong 2nd Amendment supporter, even made reference to an interview Gillibrand gave in 2009, not long after being appointed to succeed Hillary Clinton, in which she talked about keeping rifles under her bed to protect her home. Here’s is the top of that story, written by Newsday’s Tom Brune:

        WASHINGTON — New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who argues her pro-gun stance aims to protect hunters' rights and the Second Amendment, last week said she and her husband, Jonathan, keep two rifles under their bed to protect their upstate home.

      Gillibrand said neither she nor her husband is a hunter, and in a general discussion of gun control said, "If I want to protect my family, if I want to have a weapon in the home, that should be my right."

      The mother of two young children has taken "gun safety procedures to ensure family safety," an aide later said, but declined to say what steps.

       Gillibrand's guns are rifles, her chief of staff Jess Fassler said in an email, and she won one of them in a raffle at a county fair while campaigning. He said New York does not require anyone to register rifles.

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     The disclosure came in an interview with Newsday a week before her first trip as a senator to Long Island, where gun-control activist Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) has threatened a primary challenge to Gillibrand in the 2010 election.

Photo: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand