Courage and its consequences: Chris Jacobs, Republican congressman, pays the price for talking sense on guns

·2 min read

Buffalo Rep. Chris Jacobs, in Congress for just two years, had one week of being a real leader and a man worthy of the title, The Honorable. Eight days ago, in the wake of the massacre of 10 of his neighbors in a supermarket by a young terrorist with a Bushmaster XM-15, the solid-to-the-core Republican said he would support a federal assault weapons ban like the one America once had for a decade.

Speaking from his heart at a press conference as the funerals of fellow Buffalonians were going on, he said, “I hope I’ve been compassionate when I read and heard about previous incidents like this that have happened over the years, but I guess there’s just something markedly different when it happens in your city, to people you know. This has been a profoundly impactful event for me.”

For the sin of showing some basic humanity and some common sense and for breaking with his party’s zombie-like following of the morally and economically bankrupt NRA gun lobby, that was the end for Jacobs, as Republicans immediately starting demanded he drop his reelection bid and GOP challengers announced that they would primary him.

Yesterday, the final day for candidates to quit, Jacobs quit. Into the void may be stepping wildman Carl Paladino, who ran for governor in 2010 and was Trump before Trump was Trump.

It is only by dint of the scrambled political calendar caused by Albany Democrats’ unconstitutional gerrymandering of the congressional districts that the primary isn’t going to be on June 28. If that schedule had still been in place, it would have been too late for Jacobs to quit or for anyone else to run. Or if the Tops supermarket massacre had been this afternoon instead of three weeks ago, Jacobs would be heading back to Congress instead of hanging it up.

So for a single week, America had bipartisan congressional support for an assault weapons ban. That week is now over and we are back to where we were, waiting fearfully for the next atrocity.