Brooklyn NRA supporters finally meet in Dyker Heights
A dozen protesters gather to counter pro-gun group
About 100 members of Brooklyn’s Friends of the NRA were met by roughly a dozen anti-gun protesters as they gathered at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Dyker Heights — which allowed the controversial and shadowy group to meet after two other venues had canceled on them.
“Sieg heil!” yelled one group member as he entered the hall on 86th Street.
Protester Doug Schneider couldn’t believe what he’d heard.
“What did you say?” demanded Schneider, a candidate for Democratic District Leader. “What did you say to me?”
But the man had already disappeared inside.
“No comment,” said another man. A third offered protestors both middle fingers before heading up the steps.
None of the NRA supporters — all but three were men — gave their names to reporters, who had gathered after hearing that the group would be meeting. Two earlier attempts to meet — first at Gargiulo’s restaurant in Coney Island and then at the Grand Prospect Hall in Windsor Terrace — were scrubbed after the venues discovered that a pro-gun group would be meeting in decidedly Democratic Brooklyn.
“They know damned well they shouldn’t be having this here!” said protester Joe Herrera. “We kicked them out of Coney Island and we’d have kicked them out from here!”
Gays Against Guns activist Kevin Hertzog also protested. “Shame on you,” he yelled.
The protest also had its own counter-protest. Brooklynite Joe Abruzzo brought his Don’t Tread On Me flag to support the NRA group’s right to meet. “People have someone break into their home, they’re gonna call for help or hope their neighbor’s armed,” he said.
As the meeting broke up, one attendee was willing to explain his support for the NRA.
“I think maybe we’re too strict on gun laws,” said Mike Connors. “People should be able to protect themselves.” Asked about Brooklyn Friends of the NRA, he said, “the NRA used to do this dinner every year. Then they stopped. A couple years ago, the Friends started it up again.”
— Ruschell Boone (@RuschellBoone) April 26, 2018
It was unclear if the group’s main event — a gun raffle that had caused earlier controversy — had occurred.
It was just “memorabilia,” said one man who gave the name Joe. His companion merely nodded.
Additional photos below may offend some sensibilities. The Eagle publishes them to show the full passion of the event.
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