Linda Beigel Schulman, a Long Island activist for gun violence prevention, spoke at the March for Our Lives Rally last Saturday at the John Lelpi Firefighters Park in Great Neck. The rally, which drew an estimated 300 people, was organized after the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., Tulsa, Okla., and Uvalde, Texas.
Schulman’s son Scott Beigel was killed while assisting students in the 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
“Can any one of you imagine your mother or your wife not coming home from the supermarket, like what happened in Buffalo?” asked Schulman in her speech. “Or a family member not making it home from a church or a temple, like what happened in Charleston and Pittsburgh, or your child not coming home from school, like what happened in Parkland and Texas? I don’t have to imagine it. I live it every day. I live with the pain, I live with the grief, and I live with the sadness every single day.”
Last Monday, Schulman joined Gov. Kathy Hochul, Buffalo Mayor Bryon W. Brown, Lt. Governor Antonio Delgato, state Sen. Anna M. Kaplan, and state Sen. Kevin Thomas last Monday as Hochul signed a 10-bill package to strengthen the state’s gun safety laws. The bills include Legislation S.9458/A.10503, which bars the purchase of semiautomatic rifles by anyone under 21 years of age by requiring a license.
“The Second Amendment allows for a well-regulated militia,” said Schulman. “A well-regulated militia does not kill children. A well-regulated militia does not kill people in supermarkets. A well-regulated militia does not kill people at work or in a hospital. A well-regulated militia does not allow for the killing of people based on the color of their skin and their religious beliefs.”
Other speakers included student activists from Great Neck North High School and Schreiber High School in Port Washington, Rabbi Daniel Schweber of Temple Israel, Pastor David Collins of United Methodist Church, Josephine Peterson of Moms Demand Action, and Scott Pappalardo, a gun owner and activist against gun violence.
Pappalardo, who is also a member of the Giffords Gun Owners for Safety organization, provided visual installations in memory of the victims of Buffalo and Uvalde as a reminder of the lives lost to recent episodes of gun violence.
“We are fed up with the extremist views of a small, but vocal minority who claim to be speaking for all gun-owners,” said Pappalardo in his speech. “We are ready to take that back.”
A group of bipartisan U.S. Senate negotiators announced Sunday that they had reached a deal on gun safety proposals, which includes funding for states to enact red-flag laws that allow authorities to remove guns from potentially dangerous people and for mental health resources, enhanced background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, and extending prohibitions on domestic abusers to possess guns.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that the framework “would be the most significant gun safety legislation to pass Congress in decades.”
The march was organized by Reach Out America, North Shore Action, Moms Demand Action, Temple Israel of Great Neck, United Methodist Church of Port Washington, and Humanist Jewish Congregation of Queens and Long Island, under the auspices of the national March for Our Lives. Musical performances were provided by Cantor Brian Shamash of Temple Israel, Nina Gordon, and Audrey Peterson, an 11-year-old student at St. Mary’s Elementary School in Manhasset.