Roger Misso (NY-24), "We need a serious gun safety plan, yesterday."

Democratic candidates for Congress answer questions at first 2020 forum in Auburn

The candidates share many of the same positions on reducing gun violence. They support instituting universal background checks and eliminating loopholes for gun purchases. They want to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct gun violence research and for Congress to fund those efforts. 

Balter, Conole and Misso say the federal assault weapons ban should be reinstated. Misso noted that he supports universal licensing for gun purchases. 

"You have to have a license to drive a car," he said. "You ought to have a license to purchase a firearm." 

Read More

At Auburn's Prison City, support brewing for Francis Conole in race for Congress

On gun safety, Conole said he supports the Second Amendment. However, he believes Congress must act to reduce gun violence. He wants universal background checks, loopholes for gun purchases closed, the repeal of the Dickey Amendment — which critics say prevents the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from researching gun violence — and the restoration of the assault weapons ban. 

Conole trained with M4s, M16s and other weapons of war. He said military-style guns shouldn't be on the streets. 

"I do not believe assault weapons need to be in the hands of civilians," he added. 

Read More

Perry Gershon (NY-01), "Video games!? Really!?"

Yesterday, I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Trump blame video games for the tragic mass shootings that took place over the weekend. I can’t believe that I even have to say this, but people play video games all over the world, yet America is the only stable country where mass shootings happen over and over again. There is a reason for all the gun violence in this country: it’s politicians unwilling to make a change.

And Trump had the audacity to blame mainstream media for sowing the hate that he himself uses to power the energy of his rallies. White nationalism, and the violence that results from it, is on the rise in America – the FBI could not be more clear of the risks.

It’s ridiculous that most Republicans like Trump and Zeldin want to look at everything except the true causes of the problem - easy access to guns and spreading white nationalism. This is what I’ll fight for in Congress:

Background checks for all firearms purchases

Reenacting relevant provisions of the assault weapons ban of 1994

Increasing resources for mental health services, part of the push for universal healthcare

Standing up against racist, divisive rhetoric every time, from the right and left

There’s so much more, but those are just a few things I’d fight for on day one that would make us safer. Instead of blaming video games, like Trump and Zeldin, I’m ready to stand up and do something about the true causes of heinous violence in this country.
— Perry Gershon

Jackie Gordon (NY-02), "I retired from the Army, but came home to more gun violence"

Our country went to sleep on Saturday night with pain in our hearts.

We woke up the next morning to another tragedy.

In less than 24 hours, the shooters in El Paso and Dayton used a weapon of war to kill 31 innocent Americans and injure dozens more. In mere minutes, they took 31 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters from their families.

I’ve been in combat. I’ve served in the Army. Assault weapons have no place in our communities.

Friends, we must take action today to make our country safer for all Americans. Please sign my petition calling on Congress to pass an Assault Weapons Ban and keep weapons of war off of our streets. >>

When I retired from the Army, I never expected to return home and watch scenes of violence unfold on our television screens from our own communities. That was something I'd expect to see on the battlefield -- not in grocery stores, at concerts, in places of worship, or in schools.

The heartbreaking reality is that gun violence in our country is now an epidemic: In the first 218 days of this year alone, we’ve already had more than 250 mass shootings.

That’s more mass shootings than days so far this year.

Frankly, if we don’t change the way we address gun violence and demand action from our leaders, that number will only grow.

Our thoughts and prayers are important, but it is our action that will save lives.

Perry Gershon (NY-01), "The deadly combination of racist rhetoric and guns"

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.

Nancy Goroff (NY-01), "This Can't Continue"

I am heartbroken by the two mass shootings this weekend in El Paso and Dayton that have left nearly 30 dead and dozens more wounded.

I’m angry at the lack of action by politicians afraid of the NRA. They have allowed weapons of war to wreak havoc in schools, movie theaters, shopping centers, music festivals, and other public places that should be safe.

To reduce gun violence, we need to do three things immediately:

Institute universal background checks for all gun purchases
Ban high capacity magazines
Reinstate the assault weapons ban
We need to hold accountable our elected officials who have had the opportunity for years to pass common-sense laws like these, but have chosen not to. And my opponent, Lee Zeldin, is one of these failed leaders.

Zeldin has voted against every piece of gun safety legislation in Congress. He even voted to allow people with concealed carry permits in other states to carry their weapons in New York state.

Sadly, his voting record isn’t a surprise, because he’s taken tens of thousands of dollars from the NRA.

It’s time to tell Lee Zeldin that enough is enough. Thursday evening, I will join other concerned citizens to protest outside his office in Patchogue, calling out his shameful record on gun violence.

The only way we’re going to make change is through tireless grassroots action. We’re up against powerful interests with deep pockets, and we need to speak with one powerful voice to defeat them.

I know that we can solve this epidemic that has destroyed too many communities. And I will work to make that happen.
— Nancy Goroff

Dana Balter (NY-24) Facebook Post

I am heartbroken. I am tired. I am angry.

This morning, I woke up to the news of our 251st mass shooting this year. This problem is unique to the United States of America. There is no other country in the world where this phenomenon even enters double digits. We have no higher rates of mental illness than other countries do. Americans are not inherently more violent than people in other countries. And if more guns in the hands of good people were the answer, we wouldn’t have this problem—we have more guns than we do people in this country.

Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi need to call Congress back to Washington and get something done. There are multiple components to this crisis that we need our government to address. Let me be very clear. We know of many things our Congress could do tomorrow that would make a difference.

1. We have to name the threat of domestic terrorism. The FBI has been warning us about this rising threat for years. The driving ideology behind the increase in domestic terrorism is white supremacy. So the first thing we need our government to do is increase funding and other resources to study and pursue domestic terrorists. The Trump administration has cut funding for this endeavor.

2. We have to pass a slate of long overdue national gun safety measures. We should start by implementing universal background checks and closing the purchasing loopholes so no one can buy a gun without a background check. The House of Representatives finally passed this a few months ago (John Katko is opposed) but Mitch McConnell won’t bring it to a vote in the Senate. We need red flag laws that are actually effective. We need to ban the weaponry of choice for mass shootings including assault style weapons and accessories like bump stocks and high capacity magazines. We need to repeal the Dickey Amendment, the effect of which has been to prevent the CDC from studying gun violence, and fund massive studies.

3. We have to address the mental health question. It is more likely for someone with mental illness to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator. The Republican party’s rush to blame mental illness every time there is a mass shooting is an excuse to not deal with the problems of guns. It also has the very dangerous effect of further stigmatizing mental illness. We cannot allow them to continue this rhetoric. Having said that, we need to understand that the vast majority of gun deaths in this country are suicides and mental healthcare is woefully under-resourced and inaccessible to many who need it. We need to make mental healthcare affordable and accessible to every person in this country. And we need our elected officials to stop increasing the stigma which inhibits people from seeking care. We also need to make sure that the victims of gun violence have the appropriate long-term counseling. The trauma affects many more than just those who are shot. We have generations of children growing up in this reality.

We can and should do all of these things. But there is something more we have to deal with. The culture of hate and fear that enables and emboldens people to commit these atrocities. The current president of the United States promotes this culture every day. The president continually fosters an environment of hatred for the “other” and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or not paying attention. This is not a matter of being “undisciplined” or impulsive with tweets. Using words like “infestation” and “animals” to refer to people is an intentional tactic of dehumanization. That dehumanization ultimately leads to killing. We see it over and over again throughout history. That is why it is imperative for people of conscience to stand up and say no every time the president uses that kind of language. Every time he demonizes the “other.” Every time he says something racist, xenophobic, or misogynistic. To stay quiet is to condone it. To hide behind “political division” is cowardice. To stay silent is to be complicit.

Perry Gershon (NY-01) Facebook Post

oday I join millions of Americans in mourning the 20 killed and dozens injured in another act of senseless gun violence.

There have been more than 200 mass shootings in America this year to date. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents need to come together to fix this issue and enact common sense gun legislation, like mandatory background checks.

Politicians - including our own Representative Lee Zeldin - have sat on their hands and cowed to special interests while innocent Americans have died. Enough is enough.

Tracy Mitrano (NY-23) Issue Statement

As a longtime resident of New York’s Southern Tier, I understand that guns are an important part of life to many in the district, and as your Congressional representative, I will work to protect the Second Amendment rights of responsible gun owners. Still, there must be a balance between a right to bear arms and public safety. We must implement safeguards, not to inhibit the rights of responsible gun owners, but to ensure that all gun owners are indeed responsible. There have been too many tragedies, in recent decades, to allow us to think that current gun control legislation is adequate to the task of ensuring our families’ safety.

I support comprehensive background checks for all gun owners, as well as the elimination of loopholes, such as the gun show loophole, that allow people to purchase guns without undergoing background checks. I support laws that would prevent people with a history of domestic abuse from buying weapons, and I will work to limit the influence of the gun lobby over legislation in Congress. Gun control legislation is a matter that should be decided by the people and their representatives, not lobbyists from the National Rifle Association.

Tedra Cobb (NY-21) Issue Statement

Tedra Cobb is committed to maintaining an individual’s access to firearms for safe hunting and personal protection, while working to minimize gun violence, an escalating public health crisis. She calls on Congress to reject partisanship and address the issue with reason, integrity and cooperation.

By working together, we can ensure public health and safety while maintaining the freedoms guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment.

Congress has a moral and legal obligation to institute gun-related policies that protect the people.

We must reject partisanship and approach discussions about gun rights and public safety with sensitivity, objectivity and pragmatism.

Fully fund and allow the Centers for Disease Control to research causes of and solutions to gun violence.

Implement effective universal background checks for all gun sales, whether at gun shows, via the internet or at retailers.

Ban bump stocks and all other modifications that make a firearm fully automatic.

Expand protections under domestic violence statutes for domestic partners and victims of stalking.

Prohibit people who have committed hate crimes and/or who are on the terror watch list from purchasing guns.

Increase mental health service screenings to make sure questions are asked to determine whether those at risk of self-harm or harming others have access to firearms.

Revoke conceal-and-carry reciprocity that allows persons with permits from states with looser laws from carrying a firearm in states with stronger laws, like New York.

Increase funding and support for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).


Repeal the Tiahart Amendment, which requires that ATF gun traces be performed on paper, effectively making them useless in prevention of trafficking, and prohibits the ATF from requiring gun dealers to perform regular inventory checks.

Support campaign finance reforms that prevent organizations from bribing their representatives with campaign dollars.

Reject the idea of arming teachers in public schools.

Require gun safety courses and exams before issuing a license to purchase any gun.

Nancy Goroff (NY-01) Issue Statement

With your help, I’ll make sure that everyone in Suffolk has quality affordable healthcare. I’ll protect Suffolk’s waterways, upgrade our clean water infrastructure, and pass legislation to combat climate change. I’ll work to pass strong, commonsense gun safety legislation to end the gun violence epidemic. I promise to fight tooth and nail to protect a woman’s right to choose. And I’ll fight to protect our tax dollars because we must do more to help Suffolk families.

Perry Gershon (NY-01) Issue Statement

Perry is fed up with Republicans like Congressman Lee Zeldin and Donald Trump, including their effort to take away health care for millions of Americans, squeezing the middle class to fund budget-busting tax giveaways for the ultra-wealthy and big corporations, and siding with the NRA instead of working to end gun violence in America. It’s unacceptable.

Perry is running for Congress because it’s time for badly-needed change in America. He will stand up to Donald Trump and anyone who tries to divide Americans by sowing discord, encouraging hate, and fomenting violence. Perry will fight for high-paying jobs, gun violence prevention, affordable healthcare, high-quality education, clean air and water, Social Security and Medicare, enhanced veterans’ benefits, an end to our nation’s never-ending wars, and reforming our democracy to stop the corruption.