Perry Gershon (NY-01), "The deadly combination of racist rhetoric and guns" August 4, 2019 In little more than a week, we’ve seen mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Brooklyn, New York and Gilroy, California. No American community is immune to gun violence. Too many killed, too many injured, too many families ripped apart.Even worse, the rising tide of gun violence is directly linked to the rising tide of racism and hate crimes in this country; the rhetoric from the National Rifle Association and certain high level elected officials is not helpful.Let’s be clear: These tragedies are preventable. We don’t have to live like this. Our leaders, including Congressman Lee Zeldin, have a responsibility to act—a responsibility he has failed.Rep. Zeldin is a puppet of the NRA, an organization that has severely radicalized in recent years. He has accepted more financial assistance from the gun lobby than almost every other member of the House of Representatives. Whether it be from direct or indirect contributions, he is in their pocket—like none other in New York.As your Congressman, I’ll never take a dime from the NRA. Here’s my plan for reducing gun violence:Mandatory background checks. We must create a rigorous national standard for background checks and close loopholes. The recently passed House resolution is a good start, no thanks to Zeldin. But the Senate and President must act as well. Protecting the New York SAFE Act. I fiercely oppose Lee’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which allows out of state residents to carry concealed weapons in New York, immune from New York’s gun safety laws. This puts lives at risk. Just ask law enforcement what they think. Limiting assault-style weapons. We must restore the provisions of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a bill that had substantial support from House Republicans at the time. Banning bump stocks. Congress must permanetly ban bump stock devices that effectively convert semi-automatic assault weapons into automatic weapons. No guns in schools. Not for teachers. Not for students.And you know what else? I’ll always speak up against the racist rhetoric that fuels the hate. We stand up and speak with one voice to say that hate and racism are not acceptable in this country.On Thursday at 7:30 p.m., the majority voice of NY-1 will make their position known at a rally outside Rep. Zeldin’s office in Patchogue (31 Oak Street). I will be participating as an invited speaker. Let’s make sure he hears us loud and clear.