Democratic congressional candidate Anna Throne-Holst continued to attack Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) for his gun control record as the advocacy group New Yorkers Against Gun Violence formally endorsed her at a news conference in Medford on Tuesday.
Throne-Holst, a former Southampton Town supervisor, said she will try to make Zeldin’s record on gun control, including his vote against a bill by Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) to bar those on the no-fly or other terrorist watch lists from purchasing guns, a top issue of the campaign in the 1st Congressional District.
“I don’t care what else you think government should do — everyone agrees the number one thing for government is to keep people safe,” said Throne-Holst, as she was flanked by gun control advocates at the news conference at her campaign headquarters. Participants included Shenee Johnson of Medford, whose 17-year-old son Kedrick was killed in a shooting at a high school graduation party in 2010.
Zeldin’s campaign responded by attacking Throne-Holst’s latest television ad, which depicts an active shooter drill in a school.
Zeldin spokeswoman Sarah Frank said the drills don’t happen as shown.
“It’s a disgusting tactic to scare our kids in a fake setting on camera just to scare parents into voting for her,” Frank said in a statement.
Throne-Holst said active shooter drills do happen in Suffolk schools. “For him to quibble like that, just to shift attention from his inability to get the job done on gun control, shows he’s in the pocket of the gun lobby,” Throne-Holst said of Zeldin.
In a statement, Zeldin’s campaign said the congressman “believes strongly that criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill should not be permitted to purchase firearms or explosives.”
Zeldin sponsored an alternative to King’s gun-control bill. Zeldin’s measure — backed by most Republicans and the National Rifle Association — would have required authorities to obtain a court order to bar anyone on federal terrorist watch lists from purchasing a gun.
Zeldin has said shifting the burden from the gun buyer to the government is necessary to protect Second Amendment rights.
Throne-Holst said Zeldin’s bill would force authorities to disclose details of active investigations.
“His bill that he has before us would make us less safe,” she said. “It means that every one of you that sends their kids to school on daily basis will continue to have your heart in the throat as you put your kids on the bus.”
At the news conference, Johnson said, “My son might be alive today if guns weren’t so easy to get.”
Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, called Zeldin “a reliable puppet of the corporate gun lobby.”