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Parent of Parkland shooting victim, lieutenant governor push for stricter gun laws

Linda Beigel Schulman's son Scott was a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. A Half Hollow Hills High graduate, Scott was killed in the 2018 mass shooting.

Linda Beigel Schulman, mother of a Parkland, Florida, shooting victim, on Thursday addressed the need for gun control laws in New York and conveyed her support for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul's "red flag" bill.   (Credit: Newsday / Yeong-Ung Yang)

 Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday joined the Dix Hills mother of a teacher killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting  to push the governor’s gun control agenda as a new power balance in Albany begins.

Hochul spoke  about three pieces of legislation she believes easily will pass with a new Democratic majority in the State Senate:

  • A “red flag” law that would allow educators to get court orders to block students’ access to guns for youths suspected of being a danger to themselves or others.
  • A ban on bump stocks, attachments to semiautomatic guns that allow them the ability to rapid fire like machine guns.
  • An extension on the time for background checks from three to 10 days to obtain a gun.

“What a whole new day in the New York State Senate,” Hochul said.

Speaking at an event with an audience of more than 100 students, advocates, lawmakers, parents and educators inside Half Hollow Hills High School, Hochul was joined by Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son Scott was killed in the February 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Scott Beigel, raised in Dix Hills, is a 2001 graduate of Half Hollow Hills High. His mother said a red flag law would have prevented her son’s death, and she has become an advocate with the hopes it will prevent other mass shootings.

“I have so much hope and there is no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the first thing they take up in Albany,” Schulman said. “I know it's going to happen.”

Some Republicans, however, said details of how Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s gun control agenda is executed will impact their votes.

“Are we looking at separate bills or will it be a package deal? I don’t know . . . . Sometimes bills change when they are reintroduced,” said Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), who attended the event.

While a ban on bump stocks has wide support, Fitzpatrick said, he believes there could be a debate on the ideal number of days to allow for a background check for a gun purchase. 

“With technology today, why would we need to extend it to 10 days? Maybe five days would be enough,” Fitzpatrick said.

The governor's office says 10 days are needed because the buyers who are not immediately approved through the federal background check system undergo further screening by the FBI that sometimes exceeds current waiting times.

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