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Feb 27, 2018 12:24 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin Calls For Hearings On Parkland Shooter; Locals Hold Protest Rally

Mar 1, 2018 12:27 PM

After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin is calling for congressional hearings on making schools safer, though he’s stopped short of offering specific proposals to do so.

On February 18, Mr. Zeldin’s office put out a press release saying, “In light of this tragedy, it is critical Congress, law enforcement and the American public identify how Nikolas Cruz slipped through the cracks.”

Asked for more detail about measures that would catch troubled people like Mr. Cruz in the future, Mr. Zeldin largely reiterated his press release. “We must learn what went wrong and what additional tools, resources and procedures are necessary to ensure that never happens again,” he said in an email, through his communications director, Katie Vincentz.

Mr. Zeldin has an “A” rating with the National Rifle Association and has a record of consistently voting to extend gun rights. He cosponsored the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which allows individuals with permits to carry concealed weapons to transport firearms between states with similar laws. He also voted to roll back an Obama-era regulation which added mentally ill people, including those receiving Social Security checks for mental disabilities, to the national background check registry to prevent them from obtaining guns.

Since his first campaign in 2015, Mr. Zeldin has collected $14,850 in contributions from the NRA, more than any other sitting U.S. representative from New York; runner-up Tom Reed, who has been in office since 2010, has collected $11,950 in that time.

However, only nine of the 27 New York delegation in the U.S. House are Republicans, and the majority of Democrats do not receive support or funding from the NRA. One New York Democrat, Brian Higgins, originally took in $5,000 in NRA contributions, though he has since stopped taking money from the organization and has donated the contributions to various gun control groups, including New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

It’s also a relatively small number compared to colleagues in the House: On a Washington Post map ranking U.S. representatives by how much the NRA contributed to their campaigns, the front-runner was Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, with $105,500.

These numbers represent only direct contributions from the NRA to representatives’ campaigns and exclude other funding, like advertising purchases or money spent against an opposing candidate. With those factors included, the New York Times ranks Representative French Hill of Arkansas at number one with $1,089,477 spent by the NRA on his behalf.

In 2015, Mr. Zeldin did try to put some limits on gun ownership, introducing the “Protect America Act” to keep guns out of the hands of known or suspected terrorists. That bill never made it out of committee.

“While I have not met any member of Congress in favor of terrorists being able to acquire firearms or explosives, people have different opinions on how to most effectively accomplish that important goal,” he wrote in the email through Ms. Vincentz.

On February 20, about 400 people gathered in Patchogue for a rally called “Zeldin: Put Our Safety First!” according to organizer Mara Gerstein. The rally outside Mr. Zeldin’s office had two purposes: to decry Mr. Zeldin for “selling our lives to the NRA and corporate lobbyists,” and to condemn him for “acting to impede the Russia investigation.”

“If Zeldin cannot take basic steps to protect us from threats—both foreign and domestic—he is worse than useless: He is doing us great harm,” said Ms. Gerstein in remarks delivered at the rally. “He is endangering our children, our rule of law, our Constitution, and our basic rights as Americans.”

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“We must learn what went wrong and what additional tools, resources and procedures are necessary to ensure that never happens again" is a series of word that mean nothing.

Does he support any proposal in congress right now? Does he have any of his own ideas?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 1, 18 11:38 AM
Zeldin with a gun control idea? That will be the day. The NRA controls him like a puppet.
By Jolly Roger (31), Southampton on Mar 1, 18 5:48 PM
Where was the ball dropped, law enforcement had the info and didn't act. Same happened before 9/11. slipped between the cracks.
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Mar 6, 18 11:14 AM
The failure was the exercise of discretion by law enforcement to not investigate further or arrest.

We can take it out of their discretion by ensuring one of the things that happened in this case would have definitely prevented the shooter from buying or owning firearms.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8265), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 6, 18 11:19 AM
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