All Guns Blazing

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Protesters Show Support, Opposition For NRA Fundraiser At NHP Inn

The Nassau County Friends of the National Rifle Association (NRA) held their highly debated dinner auction and fundraising event at The Inn at New Hyde Park last Thursday.

Drawing a mild reaction, protesters who were for and against the fundraising event held signs in front of the Inn on Jericho Turnpike for a few hours. Many drivers passing by blew their horns in support for those who were protesting against the NRA while Nassau County Police were on hand, both on the ground and horseback, to assure everyone’s safety.

The Nassau County Friends of the NRA, who are a nonprofit organization that raises funds for The NRA Foundation, auctioned off guns that included a .410 Gauge Henry Lever Action Shotgun and a .22LR Crickett Precision Rifle. The net proceeds of the night’s fundraiser benefited shooting sports programs for local communities.

According to the Nassau County Friends of the NRA, no ammunition was permitted at the event. All who won a firearm at the fundraiser will have to go through a federal firearm background check first before being issued one.

Tom Zmich, who is a part of the organization Make America Great Again Queens, said that once he heard about the protests that would be occurring against the NRA, he came to make sure that nobody shut down the event.

“All of those politicians that are against the NRA are un-American,” said Zmich. “You have the right to bear arms and defend yourself. If they take all the arms away, how are you going to defend yourself? Look what’s happening in Europe. Even they can’t defend themselves. You have the right to defend yourself and your family against anything happening to them.”

Retired teacher and Huntington resident Judi Gardner, who was protesting against the NRA, said that she feels bad that the NRA is on the island fundraising.

“Who is getting these guns they’re raffling?” asked Gardner, who was also the Democratic National Committee delegate for Bernie Sanders. “Do these people have licenses and background checks? I just don’t want anybody carrying a gun…This country has a high rate of gun violence and that’s not who we should be. You shouldn’t need an arsenal to protect yourself.”

Gardner also believes that there should be stricter gun regulations.

“You can go from one state to another and there’s no background checks in one area, and you can go to a gun show where anybody can buy a gun,” said Gardner. “It’s harder to get a license to drive a car. If you own a gun, you should have insurance…It should take time for you to get a gun. We’ve had too many incidents.”

Queens resident Chita Brathwaite said that she came to The Inn at New Hyde Park to protest because she’s anti-gun and anti-President Trump.

“We’re entitled to protest the NRA and what they believe in,” said another protester, Craig Mark.

During the evening, Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso moderated a gun sense forum at the Great Neck Library, which addressed gun sense and gun safety. The forum was hosted by Moms Demand Action and North Shore Action, two groups that have worked diligently to prevent gun violence by establishing common-sense solutions to help decrease gun violence.

In a previous statement on their Facebook page, The Inn at New Hyde Park said that they do not discriminate against any lawful activity that is brought to them and that they do not take sides with any organizations’ beliefs or activities who host events at their establishment.

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