Making the Grade

How gun-rights groups score elected officials

By Chip Rowe

Political-action committees often rate politicians on how well they represent the organization’s views. Here is how the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), Gun Owners of America and New York Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) collectively have judged state and federal elected officials who represent the Highlands. Politicians who receive an “A” are “solidly pro-gun candidates,” according to the NRA, while those given an “F” are “true enemies of gun owners’ rights.”

Grade: A

State Sen. Sue Serino (R)

Serino was endorsed in 2016 by the NRA, SCOPE and the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Political Victory Fund.

On her campaign site (, she writes: “I fully support our Second Amendment and, in the [Dutchess] County Legislature, I even sponsored legislation opposing the SAFE Act [the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, enacted in 2013]. As a mother and a member of this community, I understand that we need to be doing more to stop the violence wreaking havoc on communities across the country.

“Since taking office, I have co-sponsored nearly every bill to repeal and chip away at the SAFE Act. I believe the solution to violence starts with improving mental health services and taking guns out of the hands of criminals, not stripping law-abiding citizens of the rights that our founders and veterans fought to protect.”

Grade: F

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D)
U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D)
State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D)
State Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D)

Gillibrand, who as a member of the U.S. House earned 100 percent ratings from the NRA, has done a 180 on her views since joining the Senate. Her website ( states: “While Sen. Gillibrand supports the Second Amendment, she is focused on protecting communities in every corner of New York from unnecessary gun violence by supporting common-sense solutions to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals.”

In 2013, Maloney said: “There are some common-sense things we can do, but we should start by saying that people have a Second Amendment right to own a gun, to defend themselves in their own homes, and I respect that. And I also respect hunters and I respect sportsmen, and we shouldn’t do anything that affects those folks because they’re not a threat to anybody. But what we should do are things like universal background checks, which I think might really get at the problem and be effective.”

In 2012, following the killings in Newtown, Connecticut, Skartados asked: “How many more children have to die, and how many more massacres must we endure, before we do the right thing and restrict access to military-type assault rifles?”

Galef, in a 2010 “political courage test” solicited by, said she supports restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns, requiring background checks on gun sales at shows and requiring a license for gun possession and does not support concealed carry.

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