The South Shore Women’s Caucus held a moment of silence for the 17 children killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., at the beginning of their Feb. 21 meeting at the Merrick Golf Club Clubhouse.
“We cannot sit back and do nothing about this,” Claudia Borecky, caucus chairwoman, said. “We can’t let . . . [another] mother’s child die.”
The women discussed what school administrators are planning to do in the aftermath of the Florida shooting, and how the SSWC can help. Borecky said she would like elected officials to ban semi-automatic weapons and make purchasing guns more difficult — if not impossible — for those with mental health issues.
She said that when she heard the news of the shooting on her way home from work, she cried — and then got angry. “I think people are as outraged as I am and as the world is,” Borecky said. “We have to prevent this. This can’t happen again.”
Several caucus members expressed skepticism about the idea of teachers carrying guns in classrooms. Borecky, whose son is a teacher in New York City, said she did not think teachers should be taught how to shoot.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Seaford, reached for comment on Feb. 22, said that it is up to the schools and their administrations to keep students safe. He supports backgrounds checks, King said, and believes in a ban on assault weapons. “Congress has done almost nothing on guns for years,” he said, adding that it is a “tough fight.”
King recently co-authored an opinion piece, published in Newsday, with Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi in support of legislation that would expand background checks while preserving Second Amendment rights.
“We want to keep our children safe from the kind of horror experienced in Florida,” King and Suozzi wrote. “They could have been our kids, or yours. As parents, and as your representatives in Congress, it’s our responsibility to help prevent another mass shooting.”
Borecky said that the requisite “thoughts and prayers” coming from many in Congress are not enough. “I am sick of thoughts and prayers,” agreed Gila Ostrowsky, a SSWC committee member from Merrick.
Borecky said she was trying to book a bus to take locals to the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C., on March 24, but logistics have been difficult. If the trip does not happen, Borecky might organize a local march instead.
Adam Sackowitz, a self-described conservative who attended the SSWC meeting, said that he supported the Second Amendment and gun ownership. He said he believed that Democrats and Republicans should work together, and that it would be beneficial to raise the age to 21 to buy bump stocks, which enable semi-automatic rifles to shoot like machine guns.
According to Borecky, no matter what solutions people advocate, the time to have a conversation about guns is now.
“If not now, then when?” she said.