Legislators, protesters rally outside NRA fundraiser in NHP

Gun Safety advocates protested a Friends of the NRA fundraiser being held at the Inn at New Hyde Park Thursday. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

More than a dozen people who oppose gun violence filled the sidewalk outside the Inn at New Hyde Park last Thursday to protest an NRA fundraiser, shouting slogans such as “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! The NRA has got to go!”

Rachel Klein, founder of Long Islanders for Gun Safety, said that this was the second year this Nassau County Friends of the NRA event was hosted at the New Hyde Park catering hall.

“Last year they said it was too late to cancel the contract, but that was obviously a lie. They have no problem doing business with the NRA and if they have no problem with that and then we’re here to let them know that we do have a problem with that,” Klein said.

The protesters shouted “Shame!” at attendees entering the event.

Neither the Inn at New Hyde Park nor the Nassau County Friends of the NRA responded to requests for comment.

A flyer from the group said the event, meant to celebrate a “legacy” of shooting sports traditions, was to feature dinner, raffles and auctions, with attendees given chances to win guns, gear, decor and collectibles.

The event was also an opportunity for Long Island Democrats to introduce new legislation to be submitted to the state Senate.

State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) presented new legislation to “keep untraceable firearms out of N.Y. communities” at the event.

‘Enough B.S. from the NRA,” Kaplan said. “We have a gun problem in this country and we need to address it.”

According to Kaplan’s office, the bill would prohibit the possession of unfinished parts for weapons called frames, unfinished receivers and 80 percent receivers that Kaplan’s office said can be made into a usable parts for an AR-15 rifle after some work.

Kaplan’s office said that under the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is illegal for an unlicensed person to make a firearm for sale or distribution but that these unfinished receivers lack necessary holes to attach a trigger mechanism and grooves for a fire control cavity. Therefore, these unfinished parts are not classified as firearms under the law.

Assemblyman Chuck Lavine (D-Glen Cove), state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-Port Washington) and state Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport) stood with Kaplan at the event.

Gaughran, who recently announced he was sponsoring legislation to prohibit “gun raffles” like the NRA event at the Inn at New Hyde Park, said he would co-sponsor Kaplan’s bill.

After the protest, Gaughran said in an interview, “what we just saw was just overwhelmingly powerful,” speaking of a speech by Linda Beigel Schulman of Dix Hills, who lost her son during the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, last year. Her son, Scott Beigel, was a teacher at the school who died protecting the students, she said. Schulman shared the photos of her son’s final moments, which she said neither she nor the world had ever seen before.

“This is the last split second where this shooter was with his AR-15 before he shot my son six times within three seconds from five feet,” Schulman said. “This is why we’re here today.”



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