New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whose pro-gun stance has attracted criticism from fellow New York Democrats, has moved two rifles she kept under her bed for protection.
The rifles were removed for security reasons because their location had been reported, Gillibrand spokesman Matt Canter said Monday evening.
“Having that information in the public domain posed a security threat to the family,” Canter said.
In an interview with Newsday published earlier Monday, Gillibrand said she and her husband, Jonathan, kept the rifles to protect their upstate New York home. The couple has two young children.
“If I want to protect my family, if I want to have a weapon in the home, that should be my right,” Gillibrand told the newspaper.
Canter said the Gillibrands follow gun-safety procedures. “The guns were always locked in a case, unloaded and inaccessible to children,” he said.
Gillibrand was a little-known second-term congresswoman from a rural Republican district when Gov. David Paterson tapped her last month to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
As a member of the House, Gillibrand earned a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association.
She has been criticized by other Democrats in New York for her positions on both gun control and immigration, and she has acknowledged that her views are broadening as she moves from representing one district to the entire state.
The day her appointment was announced, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who was elected after her husband was killed and her son wounded in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings, threatened a 2010 primary challenge.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has complained that Gillibrand has opposed efforts “to enact commonsense measures that keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.”
Gillibrand has said she would work to fight gun violence while still protecting hunters’ rights.
Canter said Monday that Gillibrand looks forward to working with Bloomberg and other gun-control advocates “to end illegal gun trafficking and give law enforcement the tools they need to get these illegal guns off our streets.”
Gillibrand told Newsday that while she and her husband don’t hunt, her mother, brother and father do.
“I grew up in a house where my mom owns about eight guns,” she said. “She keeps them in a gun case.”
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