NRA Publishes Letter of Support Kirsten Gillibrand Wrote in 2008 After Criticism in Fox News Town Hall

Kirsten Gillibrand was once a rare breed of Democrat in that she supported the National Rifle Association and bore an 'A' rating from the gun advocacy group. Now, the presidential candidate has "a proud 'F'" and calls the NRA the "worst organization in this country."

"I think the most outrageous thing that's happened to our democracy is how much fear, division and hate that's been spread. I think the NRA is the worst organization in this country for doing exactly that," the New York senator said during a Fox News town hall over the weekend.

In response to the harsh criticism, the NRA on Monday released a letter that then-Representative Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to the group in 2008 offering praise, where she stated that she looked "forward to working with you for many years in Congress."

"Now that she's looking to crack 1%, she'll say anything," the NRA said on Twitter, along with the two-page letter from Gillibrand.

Dated September 19, 2008, Gillibrand penned a letter to Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. Referring to a recent meeting between the two, Gillibrand talked of the "slippery slope of government confiscation of people's firearms," her appreciation for "the work that the NRA does to protect gun owners' rights" and her stance against certain gun provisions long supported by gun regulation advocates.

"On the question of outright banning certain firearms or cosmetic features, bullets of an random size, or banning magazines holding an arbitrary number of cartridges, I am adamantly opposed and do not believe that laws should be based on random limits just for the sake of limiting gun ownership or usage," Gillibrand said.

Then a member of the U.S. House, she represented New York's 2nd Congressional District, a "rural, upstate district," as Gillibrand described it. She defended her policy shift on guns during the Fox News town hall on Sunday, explaining to the channel's audience that her stance now included support for universal background checks, banning bump stocks, large magazines and assault rifles, and making sure there is a "federal anti-trafficking law."

President Donald Trump used his executive powers in December to officially ban bump stocks—the device that increases the firing rate of a semi-automatic weapon by using a gun's recoil to more quickly pull the trigger—at the federal level.

"We have to look beyond our own backyard. We must care about others, treat others the way you want to be treated, care about the least among us," she said. "As an upstate congresswoman, I had an 'A' rating by the NRA. And when I became senator, I had a proud 'F.' I've had that proud 'F' for ten years, and I'm very delighted to have a proud 'F' because the truth is, it wasn't good enough to care only about your backyard."

Gillibrand's opinion change stems back years, and she's stated her past beliefs are something she's "embarrassed about and I'm ashamed of."

Gillibrand didn't hold back in further railing against the NRA, accusing the non-profit organization that's recently found itself embroiled in turmoil and internal chaos of being filled with "greed and corruption."

"They care more about their profits than the American people," she said. "They care more about selling guns to someone on the terror watchlist or someone with grave mental illness or someone who has a violent criminal background—they're against universal background checks."

Kirsten Gillibrand Once Praised NRA
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower on March 24 in New York City. Getty/Kena Betancur/Getty Images
NRA Publishes Letter of Support Kirsten Gillibrand Wrote in 2008 After Criticism in Fox News Town Hall | U.S.