Dan Merculi, 86, of Levittown
"Yes, indeed, the federal government should toughen its background checks on people who want to buy guns." He said, "I would support Congresswoman [Carolyn] McCarthy's call to ban gun clips that hold more than 15 rounds. She's a good woman. I would also back the call to make it a crime to knowingly carry a gun, unless you're in law enforcement or the military, [within 1,000 feet of the president and vice president, members of Congress and federal judges]. But that sounds hard to control."
Aster Mehreteab, 45, of Farmingdale, who works in Hempstead as an administrator for a nonprofit group
"I know the constitution says citizens should have the right to bear arms, but that was back then. It's a different world today, and nobody should carry guns except military and law enforcement personnel. Of course, if that's not changed, then the background check should be tougher and include psychological assessments. It should also be done every year or two. If the congresswoman means all guns [limited to 15 rounds], maybe law enforcement and military officials should not be limited like that. Otherwise, I would support such a proposal. Again, I don't think anybody except police and soldiers should have guns, but if people are licensed to carry them, I'm not sure it should be a crime to have a gun that near [within 1,000 feet] anybody, but the president and vice president."
Doris Velasquez, 43, of East Meadow, a program management assistant
"I support stronger federal background checks because I believe it would mean fewer guns on the street, resulting in not as many innocent people being shot. I think no more than 15 bullets in a clip is a good start, but still too many. The 1,000 feet thing sounds like a good idea at first, but I'm just not sure. Suppose you have a legal right to a gun?"
Debby Kovensky, a retired paralegal from Melville
There should "absolutely" be stronger background checks before people can buy a gun. She also "totally agrees" with a proposed law that would limit sales of magazines holding more than 15 bullets. But she questioned the effectiveness of a proposed law that would forbid people from approaching certain officials while carrying a gun. "It's right in what it's saying, but holds no water," she said. "If they're going after somebody with a gun, that law's not going to stop them. Not selling it in the first place would stop them."
Bill Brader, 60, a retired educator from Huntington
He agreed that background checks should be tougher, because "people who are not well are able to get these guns very easily." He was also in favor of a law limiting the size of guns' magazines. "I don't think it interferes with the idea that you're able to buy a gun," he said. "It's fine to buy [a gun] for hunting and other activities," he said, "but automatics should be controlled. Really, they're for military purposes." He questioned the use of a law giving extra protection to certain officials. "What's the purpose of just giving extra protection to them?" he asked. "Why not have a law making it difficult to get weapons to use against anybody?"
Jessie Everett, 46, a consultant from Long Beach
Said she didn't think tougher background checks would help anyone. "If you want a gun, you're still going to get a gun, whether legally or not," she said. She was in favor of limitations on magazine size, "If you're a private citizen, you don't really need 15 rounds," she said. The law affording extra protection to some officials wouldn't do any good, she said. "If criminals want to get there, they're going to get there. If they want to get them, they're going to."