Brooklyn Boro

Reaction swift to ‘outrageous’ NRA bullet image of Brooklyn pols

Brooklynites stand up for lawmakers Simon and Persaud

January 5, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Officials say this photo, which appeared in an NRA publication, appears to threaten state Sen. Roxanne Persaud (left) and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, who are drafting a bill that would limit ammo purchases. Photo from “America's 1st Freedom” Twitter feed
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Like the bills or hate them, keep your hands off Brooklyn officials.

That’s the reaction of the borough’s residents and electeds after seeing an ominous photo tweeted out by the NRA on Monday. The image shows pictures of Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon and state Sen. Roxanne Persaud, taped to a desk next to a handful of bullets.

Officials are worried that the photo, which appeared in “America’s 1st Freedom,” an NRA online newsletter, will inflame the less stable elements among the nation’s gun supporters, who are ticked off about bills the legislators drafted that would limit ammo purchases to twice the capacity of a gun owner’s firearm during a 90-day period, among other provisions.

“The NRA is engaging in shameful attacks on compassionate efforts to reduce senseless gun violence – stop the presses,” Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement. Adams said he was proud of the proposal, which would “address the epidemic of mass shootings that have spilled innocent blood across this country.” Adams worked with Persaud and Simon to craft the bills.

“We cannot be deterred by the level of hateful rhetoric that extremists are engaging in behind the cover of social media, which has already sparked a number of dangerous threats,” Adams added.

Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, who sponsored legislation to require firearms owners to obtain liability insurance, said the attacks on his colleagues was “reprehensible.”

“Any organization responding to legislation with personal threats should be held accountable for this abusive behavior,” Ortiz said in a statement on Wednesday. “Those of us who have lived through threats, as I have, understand that standing up for your beliefs in order to make meaningful change and safer neighborhoods can be a dangerous act in and of itself.  It is precisely these moments when you are tested that you find out who is with you and who is not.”

Councilman Stephen Levin tweeted that he stands in solidarity with and has admiration for Simon and Persaud for “standing up 2 the NRA.” He added that they both “make us proud in Brooklyn.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the NRA should “Knock it off.”  

 “Your graphic is obnoxious and suggestive,” he wrote, adding that he stands with Simon and Persaud. 

The reaction comes on a day when President Barack Obama spoke to the public about a set of stricter gun rules that would expand the number of gun-dealers who must be conduct background checks, enforce existing gun control laws and other measures.

Some local residents said they were outraged by the NRA image.

“We can not and will not allow the NRA bullies to threaten our elected and their common sense gun legislation. I stand by my Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon as she works on ammo purchasing restrictions,” said Brooklyn Heights resident Susan Raboy. She added, “I am outraged by the NRA threat. How dare they!”

Simon told the Brooklyn Eagle that she has received threatening and insulting emails, and many that were “blatantly misogynistic.”

“Some question why women were given the right to vote,” she said.

Almost none of the emails were constructive, she said. “Substantive comments have been few and far between. The correspondence has been nearly exclusively insulting, demeaning and inflammatory.”

“The NRA’s picture was meant to be threatening and intimidating, and people who do not have judgement could act in a dramatic fashion. I take it very seriously,” Simon added.

In an official statement, she said the photo was “another example of how the NRA attacks those who seek reasonable solutions to the growing crisis of gun violence.

“The fact remains that America has a gun violence problem. We will not be bullied. We will not be threatened. Unlike the NRA we will not sit idly by as guns murder our family, friends and neighbors,” Simon said.

Persaud, in a statement published by the Daily News, said the image was “outrageous, but unfortunately not surprising. The NRA has consistently proven that they are more concerned with creating an atmosphere of intimidation and fear than protecting our rights.”

She added, “Placing bullets on pictures of elected officials, especially when we know that elected officials have been targeted by violent extremists in the past, is reckless and dangerous.”

Bill still in draft form

Mark Chesnut, editor of “America’s 1st Freedom,” wrote in an article accompanying the controversial image, “In truth, this is one of the most ridiculous anti-gun schemes I’ve seen in some time. Anyone who shoots on even a halfway regular basis knows that a single training day at the range requires far more than just a handful of ammo. But Sen. Persaud and Assemblywoman Simon simply don’t care about that—they greatly dislike gun owners and want to make life harder for them, to hell with the consequences.”

Simon pointed out that the bills are still in draft form.

Adams agreed. “The bills that we have drafted are intended to be a conversation starter, which will result in the right common-sense solution for New York,” he said.

Comments on issue from across the country

People across the country said they were were upset by the NRA’s photo.

“This is threatening and intimidating — it’s terrorism,” tweeted someone calling him/herself Ought Thoughts.

ERKellyRN ‏tweeted, “I thought the NRA was about gun safety? What message are u trying to send by positioning bullets by these pictures?”

Shannon Garrison wrote, “It’s a bit warped to distribute an image showing pictures of your political opposition taped to a desk, with bullets laying on top.”

But hundreds of comments from gun enthusiasts opposing the Simon/ Persaud bills were almost universally negative. These comments were made in reaction to the original story about the bills, which was broken in an exclusive by the Brooklyn Eagle (in “Brooklyn Lawmakers Seek to Tightly Restrict Sales of Ammo Statewide”).

Reader Kuetsa commented in part, “This fully repeals the second amendment and would require a full gun registration / confiscation database for the system to work. This is what they need for their Australian type gun confiscation. This is a declaration of war, and if they pass this law it is time to fight the war, or lose our firearms rights for good.”

Rick Manigault wrote, “This shows the true intent of gun safety. This law would make it impossible to go to the gun range so it eradicates legal activity with firearms. They want ALL guns!”

“Liberalism is a mental disorder. And these lawmakers are definitely mentally disturbed,” Hal commented.

Momo said, “This is a violation of their Oath of Office and abuse of power even to suggest such a thing. All of you can drop dead. Those of us who believe in Gods laws, will not comply…”

Dilsin wrote, “Who thinks this will solve any problem? Terrorists will simply accumulate ammo over time or pool their buying power and get what they need. They will buy it in other places or on the black market. Liberals need to get over their knee-jerk need to ‘do something’ and start thinking about whether there feel-good nonsense makes any sense.”

Brooklyn Heights resident and gun-rights supporter Jeff Smith compared the bills to legislation attempting to ban fireworks in the 1970s.

“Immediately everybody started manufacturing fireworks themselves,” Smith said. “M80s became Super M80s, you had huge explosions. The same thing would happen with bullets. It’s not easy to do properly; you’d have all kinds of homebrew out on the street, and gangs would be the prime markets.”

Smith did not criticize the NRA image. “I’m not saying the NRA always does the right thing,” he said. “But I feel there’s an element of seizing on this.”

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