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McCarthy talks gun control with LI students

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy speaks about gun violence before

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy speaks about gun violence before students at Mineola High School. (Feb. 4, 2011) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy took her push for a ban on high-capacity semiautomatic-weapon magazines to her alma mater Friday, urging Mineola High School students to use social networking and other efforts to support her cause.

"We're here to talk about gun violence," said McCarthy (D-Mineola), in an appearance in the high school auditorium along with Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "I will do my job in Washington and I need young people to get involved."

McCarthy talked about the shooting death of her husband, Dennis, in the Long Island Rail Road massacre in 1993, when gunman Colin Ferguson killed five others and also badly wounded her son, Kevin.

After the Tucson shootings in January when a gunman killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), McCarthy introduced her bill to ban magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Such high-capacity magazines were used in both shootings.

McCarthy asked students to use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to support the proposed federal ban. Such magazines were made illegal in the 1994 assault weapons ban, but Congress let that expire in 2004. The magazines were made illegal in New York in 2003.

McCarthy and 57 other Democrats proposed legislation after the Tucson shootings last month to ban the sale or transfer of high-capacity magazines. She told students she is not against gun ownership.

Opponents of her bill have called it a "piece of feel-good legislation" with little impact.

Budd Schroeder, chairman of the New York Shooters Committee on Political Education, pointed to the actions of suicide bombers as well as Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, saying that "the real proof is if somebody wants to get something to cause harm to somebody else, he is going to figure out a way to do it."

Still, some students agreed to publicize the proposal.

"By emphasizing grassroots social media, it gives kids the idea that they can do something so they will be able to take action and have a say," said Abigail Sia, 17.

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