State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-Port Washington) will moderate a gun safety forum in September – on the same day the National Rifle Association is planning to hold a fundraiser in New Hyde Park that has drawn heat from activists.
“While I affirm a citizen’s right to own a gun, we need to have stronger and stricter laws to prevent violent incidents involving gun shootings,” D’Urso said in a statement. “…The NRA is not welcome here.”
The forum, co-hosted by Moms Demand Action and North Shore Action, will be held at the Great Neck Library on Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m.
The Nassau chapter of Moms Demand Action last week announced a plan to hold a series of protests outside the Inn at New Hyde Park leading up to the event, calling for it to be cancelled.
The fundraiser, hosted by Nassau County Friends of NRA, is set to be held that same day at 5:30 p.m at the catering hall.
The Inn at New Hyde Park declined to comment.
Tickets range in price from $65, for a single ticket, to $2,000, for the Charlton Heston Table.
The event also features a raffle and auction with prizes including a .410 gauge Henry Lever Action Shotgun with a Second Amendment engraving and a Colt Cobra revolver with custom NRA grips, according to an event flier.
Efforts to reach Nassau County Friends of NRA were unavailing.
D’Urso said the NRA is simply a conduit for gun manufacturers.
“The NRA doesn’t really represent their member anymore, they’re just a tool of the gun manufacturers,” D’Urso said in an interview.
D’Urso added that the NRA won’t support common sense gun legislation.
“We don’t want to take guns away from people, we just want to make sure that … guns don’t fall in the hands of some people that might harm themselves or kill people with the guns,” D’Urso said.
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan both said they are standing with advocates in a call to cancel the event.
In a statement, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said she supports the inn’s legal right to book the event, but will use this as an opportunity to “stress [her] strong belief that our nation needs stronger gun control laws.”
In a statement, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said “I support the First Amendment right of the NRA to meet and express their views, even when we don’t agree with those views. I support greater gun control and a ban on assault weapons.“
In a statement, state Assemblyman Charles Lavine said it’s an “outrage” to hold an event in the “heart of Nassau County,” at a location that is just a minutes walk away from the site of a 1993 Long Island shooting.
On Dec. 7, 1993 at the Merillon Avenue train station, a man shot and murdered several Long Island residents, Lavine said, including Amy Federici, James Gorycki and Dennis McCarthy, all from Mineola, Richard Nettleton of Rosyln Heights, Mi Kyung Kim of New Hyde Park, and Maria Theresa Tumangan Magtoto of Westbury.
Lavine also noted that on Sept. 27, 2012, a man with a handgun murdered six and wounded two people in Minneapolis.
“There is a blood chilling sense to the way that we view particular dates and location in the context of rampant gun violence in our nation. At times, a span of a mere mile and a half can be the difference between life and death,” Lavine said.
Lavine urged those who love children more than “the ‘gundamentalists’ love their little guns,” to take a stand.
“We are long past the point when ‘enough was enough,’” Lavine said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Klar by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 204, or follow her on Twitter @rebeccaklar_.