U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, is receiving praise from the National Rifle Association as he gears up for his 2014 re-election campaign.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Actions sent an email to NRA members in New York this week urging them to contact Owens, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and thank him for voting against several “anti-gun amendments” that House members attempted to attach to a House Commerce, Justice and Science budget bill during the committee process in November.

The NRA said gun control advocacy groups have criticized Owens because of his votes against the amendments.

Owens is running for re-election in the 21st Congressional District.

Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Owens.

The candidates are Joseph Gilbert, a retired Army major and tea party leader from St. Lawrence County; Michael Ring, a broadcast engineer and political activist from Jefferson County; and Elise Stefanik, a businesswoman and former White House policy advisor from Willsboro.

A fourth potential candidate, John James, an actor from Cambridge, is considering the race, Republican leaders have said.

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