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Long Island lawmakers weighed in Friday on the NRA's controversial proposal to put an armed guard at every school in America following last week's deadly shooting in Newton, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead.
In statements to Newsday, not one lawmaker — including members of the House, Senate, local county executives or district attorneys — endorsed the idea.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola): "I’m saddened by what I saw today, because the NRA’s leadership had an opportunity to help unite the nation behind efforts to reduce gun violence and avert massacres like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School but it instead showed a disconnect between it and the majority of the American people."
Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington): "The statement given this morning by NRA president Wayne LaPierre was tragically out of touch. We do not need an arms race in our schools. We need common-sense initiatives like limits on high-capacity assault magazines and closing the gun show loophole. It's time for common ground, not more guns on school playgrounds."
Peter King (R-Seaford): "Except in extremely rare cases, armed police are not the answer to school violence. What we must have are common sense guns laws such as banning assault weapons and ending the gun show loophole."
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton): "The NRA’s outrageous proposal for the federal government to militarize our schools, delivered while we are still burying the children murdered at Sandy Hook no less, proves they cannot be a constructive part of the solution to the unacceptable epidemic of gun violence in America."
Rep Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans), whose district includes a portion of Nassau County: "The suggestion made today by the National Rifle Association to place armed guards at every school in America would be laughable, if it were not so dangerous. Gun violence is not a game, yet the NRA’s proposal treats this issue with a disgraceful lack of sincerity. It is the definition of idiocy to suggest that the answer to gun violence in schools is to have more guns in schools. The solution is clear: we need to restore the ban on assault weapons, while prohibiting access to high-capacity ammunition magazines. We have had too many reminders that lives are at stake; we do not need anymore. The time has come for the NRA to leave the games behind and embrace serious proposals."
Sen. Charles Schumer: "Most people, including gun owners, believe weapons of war belong on our battlefields, not on our streets. It’s astounding Wayne LaPierre doesn’t understand that."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (via Twitter): "The
@NRA missed a real opportunity today to be part of the solution on keeping guns away from criminals & the dangerously mentally ill."
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano: "I encourage school administrators to participate in the county’s Active Shooter seminar and to consider all options to enhance security at our schools."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone: "For anyone expecting a serious proposal from the NRA today, we are truly disappointed. This proposal is about public relations and not about serious solutions. We need to have a serious conversation on how we stop the epidemic of gun violence."
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice's chief spokesman, John Byrne: "District Attorney Rice believes the NRA plan is a completely inadequate, intentionally distracting solution for this public safety problem. She believes we need to go after the assault weapons and the high-capacity ammo clips, that we need to improve the background check process, and that we must afford more resources and attention to our mental health services."
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota: "As a father and as a law enforcement professional, I think to put a gun in a school setting is definitely not the answer. It’s time to face facts and it’s is clear the first step must be restricting access to assault weapons."
The Nassau and Suffolk county police departments declined to comment on the NRA's proposal. But, in a statement, Suffolk said "decisions on school security issues should be left up to the district officials. The Suffolk County Police Department continues to be committed to ensuring the safety of students and their families and will continue to work closely with public and private schools, colleges and universities."