Jewish Gun Leaders Come Out Firing

Even After Newtown, Not Everyone Is Anti-Gun

True Believer: Richard Feldman, the 
NRA’s first Jewish lobbyist, came to 
support gun rights after a stint as a cop.
Courtesy of richard feldman
True Believer: Richard Feldman, the NRA’s first Jewish lobbyist, came to support gun rights after a stint as a cop.

By Nathan Guttman

Published January 11, 2013, issue of January 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 4)

Jews affiliated with the Republican Party or who live in areas where gun ownership is widespread tend to demonstrate more support for gun rights. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, holds a top rating from the NRA and received $7,450 in campaign contributions this election cycle from the gun lobby. Still, even minor, seemingly incidental brushes that Cantor has had over the years with restrictions on unlimited access to guns — such as his appearance at a GOP rally for families held last October at a venue that banned firearms — have provoked attacks against him from a local pro-gun rights organization. At the event, dozens of signs were placed, noting that the NRA has endorsed Cantor, a measure seen as essential in order to overcome criticism of being soft on guns.

Democrats, even from the South, face a more complex situation. Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen owns a .38 Special, a police handgun that, he told the Forward, was given to his father by one of Elvis Presley’s bodyguards. Cohen has a license allowing him to carry a concealed weapon, but he does not go around with the gun.

“I support the right to carry pistols and rifles, but I don’t think it should be unlimited,” Cohen said. His legislative record reflects this approach. Cohen sponsored the bill allowing concealed weapons in Tennessee, but he added safeguards to the legislation. He also supports banning the sale of semi-automatic assault rifles and of high-capacity magazines, two of the proposed limitations that are due to be presented to Congress this year.

Cohen, who grew up in the South, said there are many Jewish residents in his district who “love their guns,” although he admitted that the Jewish community is not a “bastion” of gun culture. “There are no Hopalong Cohens,” he said.

Kentucky’s Jewish congressman, John Yarmuth, is an avid supporter of gun control, despite the fact that he represents a state that has many gun owners. Yarmuth, a Democrat, prides himself as being “the only member of the Kentucky delegation to receive an ‘F’ rating from the NRA.”

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who retired from the House of Representatives after sustaining severe gunshots injuries during an assassination attempt, was also a gun owner who held a complex approach to gun control. Giffords supported a ban on the sale of assault weapons but, at the same time, opposed limits on carrying weapons in the District of Columbia, a battle that gun control advocates had lost in Congress. After the Newtown shooting, Giffords visited the town to express her condolences. She met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a show of support for his campaign to limit the sale of guns.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • It’s over. The tyranny of the straight-haired, button nosed, tan-skinned girl has ended. Jewesses rejoice!
  • It's really, really, really hard to get kicked out of Hebrew school these days.
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.