Capitol Alert

Gavin Newsom duels with Olympic shooter over gun control initiative

Kim Rhode holds back her joy after defeating Meng Wei of China, right, in a bronze-medal shootout during the women's Olympic skeet final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 12, 2016.
Kim Rhode holds back her joy after defeating Meng Wei of China, right, in a bronze-medal shootout during the women's Olympic skeet final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 12, 2016. Los Angeles Times

After winning a sixth Olympic medal at the Rio Games this summer, skeet shooter Kim Rhode is taking on a new opponent: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Rhode, an outspoken critic of California’s gun control laws, participated this week in a web ad against the ammunition regulations proposed in Newsom’s Proposition 63, leading to a testy social media exchange.

In the ad, released on YouTube Wednesday, Rhode tells the camera that she uses more than 800 rounds of ammunition daily.

“If Gavin Newsom has his way, it’ll make it incredibly hard to keep up my skills,” she says. “Harsh gun laws like Prop. 63 are not the answer. They only hurt law-abiding people and do nothing to stop terrorists.”

The measure includes several provisions to further restrict access to firearms and ammunition in California, including licensing ammunition sellers and implementing background checks at the point of purchase.

With more cordiality than his previous responses to campaign opponents, Newsom tried to reach out online.

“Congrats on your 6 Olympic medals – very impressive!” he tweeted at Rhode. “But, did you know Prop 63 actually exempts ammo bought & used at a range?”

Rhode was not interested in the olive branch.

“Not sure where self-serving politicians hone their skills but Olympic shooters don’t just practice at formal ranges...” she wrote back. Then she added: “But always happy to teach you about the guns and ammo you don’t trust me to own.”

This is not the first time that Rhode has waded into high-profile political issues. In 2012, she appeared with other Olympic athletes at the Republican National Convention to endorse Mitt Romney.

New California laws will broaden the definition of prohibited assault weapons, cracking down on a quick-reloading device referred to as the "bullet button."

"After San Bernardino... People are fed up with the NRA," Gavin Newsom said during a meeting with The Sacramento Bee editorial board in February 2016.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

  Comments