WASHINGTON — Democrat Anna Throne-Holst rolled out her second ad Friday, attacking Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) for opposing gun-control legislation with a dramatized version of schoolchildren preparing to protect themselves in an active shooter drill at school.
Zeldin’s spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena, however, said there is a major problem with the ad: such drills don’t happen in local grade schools.
The ad comes as one of the nation’s most competitive House races heats up as both sides go on the offensive in their bid to represent New York’s 1st District in Suffolk County on Long Island’s eastern end.
In the ad, which Throne-Holst’s aide said is running on local cable television stations through a “six figure” airtime buy, Throne-Holst said, “Kids today are practicing for school shootings. And still Washington isn’t doing anything about it.”
She continued, “Lee Zeldin voted against background checks for violent criminals and the mentally ill. He opposed banning high-capacity magazines. Lee Zeldin even voted to let people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list buy guns.”
Throne-Holst added that she knows that “as a mother, nothing is more important than keeping our kids safe.”
DiSiena questioned Throne-Holst’s veracity.
“She untruthfully describes and shows a grade school active shooter drill, which doesn’t in reality actually take place with young students in our local grade schools,” DiSiena said in an emailed statement.
And DiSiena also questioned the validity of the claims about Zeldin’s positions on gun legislation.
“Zeldin strongly believes that criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill should not be permitted to purchase firearms or explosives,” DiSiena said. “Zeldin has supported legislation that was signed into law that contained various provisions for school safety, emergency preparedness and crisis response measures to better ensure the safety of students.”
Throne-Holst’s spokesman Andrew Grunwald cited several votes and statements by Zeldin that Grunwald said backed up the ad’s charges.
Among them was Zeldin’s vote in October 2015 against a bill that would have expanded background checks to internet and gun-show weapons sales, and allow states to submit protected mental health records to the background check system.
The citations also include Zeldin saying on a motion he missed in 2013 as a state senator that he would have voted against the SAFE Act, which included several gun-control measures, and a statement against limiting high-capacity magazines during a 2014 tele-town hall.
But Throne-Holst touched on a partisan dispute in Congress when she mentioned a measure to ban those on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from buying a gun.
Zeldin did vote and oppose a bill proposed by Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), and supported by Democrats and gun-control groups, that would bar sales of guns to anyone on the no-fly or other terrorist watch lists, but allow the blocked gun buyer to file a challenge in court.
Instead, Zeldin sponsored an alternative version — backed by most Republicans and the National Rifle Association — that would bar anyone on federal terrorist watch lists from gun purchases, but only if authorities obtain a court order by showing probable cause within three days of the attempted purchase.
That shifting of the burden from the would-be gun buyer to the government to prove a terrorist connection would make banning such purchases much more difficult, but Zeldin said it is a necessary step to protect Second Amendment rights.