Kirsten Gillibrand is a Democrat from upstate New York, and she's also someone who the NRA has given a high rating because she supports the 2nd Amendment.
I don't understand why those two things are causing so much concern in New York politics. It doesn't make much sense historically, and it doesn't make any sense now.
The only reason I can think of that would explain why her NRA rating would be seen as a negative attribute is that most of the people who are attacking her don't really think the 2nd Amendment describes an individual right to own firearms. It's difficult to explain to some of these people that not only was that settled when the Constitution was written, it was recently reaffirmed by D.C. vs. Heller. It's even more difficult to explain to a handful of them why her support for 2nd Amendment rights is nothing that should cause them any loss of sleep. It shouldn't, if it does.
The most responsible people I know in the United States are the ones who own their own firearms, who use them regularly, and who are licensed in their states, and who take care of them personally. There isn't anyone among us who want to see "illegal guns" in the hands of criminals, which is how some of the more deceptive opponents of her appointment are trying to portray her views. I'm very glad, and not just as a partisan Republican, to see a centrist Democrat from upstate New York who isn't a 2nd Amendment denier be appointed to the U.S. Senate. It's about time! that Governor Paterson and the rest of New York State recognized that, YES folks, there are hundreds of thousands of intelligent, productive, credentialed, responsible and honest -- and LIBERAL -- people in New York State who are also perfectly capable of owning a firearm, many of whom own them right now and will in the future, and who view their ability to continue to do so as very important.
The truth is that the only people who are carping and whining about Gillibrand's NRA rating are the extremists who think that all privately-owned firearms should be confiscated. Her NRA rating is the result of her sensible understanding that people who own firearms legally are not the problem, and never have been.
I know that as a resident of a neighboring state, I'm glad to see Governor Paterson recognize that people with positive ratings from the NRA are excellent choices to represent their states in the U.S. Senate.
I want to encourage every NRA member, regardless of party, to contact Governor Paterson's office in New York and let him know personally that we appreciate his willingness to understand that.