Gun control advocates Carolyn McCarthy, Joyce Gorycki receive LI peace award

Carolyn McCarthy, right, and Joyce Gorycki look on Carolyn McCarthy, right, and Joyce Gorycki look on before they were each presented with the Pax Christi Long Island Peace Award at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset Saturday, April 26, 2014. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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Their husbands were shot to death on a Long Island train more than 20 years ago. But Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Joyce Gorycki said Saturday that despite their best efforts, little has changed since then to stem gun violence.

McCarthy (D-Mineola) and Gorycki expressed their frustration at Manhasset's Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, where they received an award from Pax Christi Long Island, a Catholic peace group.

Both women have campaigned aggressively for gun control, and each cited the Newtown, Conn., school massacre of 2012 as an emotional blow.

"Why do we have all these killings in this country?" Gorycki asked. "I don't understand; I never will understand. I decided to speak out because it's sort of like a memorial to my husband. I know he's looking down and saying, 'There she goes again.' "

Both women are used to living in the public eye since the Long Island Rail Road massacre on Dec. 7, 1993. That evening, Colin Ferguson opened fire with a 9-mm pistol in a train leaving the New Hyde Park station.

Six people were killed and 19 wounded.

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McCarthy was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1996. Gorycki became the leader of the Long Island chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

On Saturday, they spoke again of their loss and their stymied efforts to prevent more massacres.

McCarthy, 70, who is retiring at the end of the year, said it's time for fresh gun control advocates to enter the political arena.

"It's frustrating, but Newtown probably pushed me to the point where I'm saying it's time for new voices," she said, but promised: "I'm not going to walk away from this."

Gorycki, whose 31-year-old daughter, Karen, was in the audience, vowed to speak out against the kind of violence that ripped her family apart until the day she dies.

"I don't want any other family to go through what we go through," Gorycki said. "Every time there is a shooting -- boom -- it hits home. "

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