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Carolyn McCarthy's life and career

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, at her home in Mineola,

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, at her home in Mineola, announces she will not be seeking re-election. (Jan. 8, 2014) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Jan. 5, 1944: Born in Brooklyn.

1951: Family moves to Mineola.

1962: Graduates from Mineola High School.

1964: Earns degree from Glen Cove Nursing School. Works at Glen Cove Hospital.

1967: Marries Dennis McCarthy. The couple has a son, Kevin.

December 1993: Colin Ferguson fatally shoots six people and injures 19 aboard a Long Island Rail Road train heading from Penn Station. Dennis McCarthy is among those killed and Kevin McCarthy is critically injured in what became Long Island's deadliest shooting.

January 1994: Carolyn McCarthy begins to speak out for the elimination of assault weapons, urging each of the thousands of people who wrote condolence letters to her to lobby lawmakers for gun control.

September 1994: Congress passes the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which McCarthy had campaigned for.

May 1995: McCarthy announces a $1.5-billion lawsuit against the makers of the gun and ammunition used in the LIRR shootings.

March 1996: Freshman Rep. Dan Frisa (R-Westbury) votes for a GOP measure to lift the assault weapons ban, prompting McCarthy, a lifelong Republican, to announce that she would consider running for the seat as a Democrat.

November 1996: McCarthy defeats Frisa in the 4th Congressional District election.

October 2001: Co-sponsors a measure to forgive student loans of spouses of rescue workers killed at Ground Zero.

2007: Becomes chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities.

January 2008: President George W. Bush signs the National Instant Criminal Background Check Database Improvements Act, introduced by McCarthy. It provides grants to states to upgrade background check technologies and requires federal agencies to share information through a national database of individuals who are ineligible to buy guns.

January 2008: Opposes Gov. David Paterson's appointment of Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, citing the National Rifle Association's backing of Gillibrand when she was a House member. They reconciled as Gillibrand became a stronger gun control supporter.

November 2012: Elected to her ninth two-year term.

June 2013: Announces she has a treatable form of lung cancer. Later files suit against various companies, alleging that her exposure to asbestos in her youth -- combined with her history of smoking cigarettes -- contributed to her cancer.

Jan. 8, 2014: Discloses she will serve out her term but will not run again.

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