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Upstater accused of threats to Maloney admits he called

TimesLedger Newspapers

An Elmira, N.Y., man who claims he is running for a council office upstate was arrested and charged with harassing U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) over her support of proposed gun control legislation, police and the congresswoman said.

Ronald Buchanan, 39, was nabbed Wednesday by the NYPD and charged with two counts of aggravated harassment and one count of harassment in the first degree, misdemeanor charges that include stalking and menacing, a spokesman for the police said.

A criminal complaint filed by the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Buchanan made several phone calls April 2 to Maloney’s Queens office, which were automatically forwarded to her Manhattan office.

The complaint also said Buchanan told police, “I made calls to her. I did not mean them as threats. I’m running for office as a councilman here and I wanted her and others to know that if the government takes away the people’s Second Amendment rights, then the people would rise. I made some phone calls from my cellphone and other calls from my home phone.”

According to the state Board of Elections, there is no evidence Buchanan is running for council in Elmira.

The phone calls were fielded by a staff member who the complaint said felt “threatened and alarmed” by the harassment.

He is currently being held on $20,000 bail.

In response to the arrest, Maloney released a statement Friday, praising law enforcement officials.

“For me, one of the most deeply disturbing aspects of this episode has been the fact that this individual threatened my life over my support for gun control. Despite the setback in the Senate this week, despite the threats, and despite the grotesque mischaracterizations of what the gun bills contained, the forces of reason will carry on,” she said in the statement.

“All of us who hope to see common-sense legislation enacted must be resolute and persevere in our efforts to address the plague of gun violence in America. My resolve is, if anything, even stronger after these threats.”

Maloney’s office said the threats were related to her support of the Firearm Risk Protection Act, which would have required gun owners to maintain liability insurance. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on this bill, but similar bills have been defeated in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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