Pro-Gun Gillibrand Visits School of Child Killed by Bullet

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has raised hackles among some New Yorkers with her pro-gun voting record, visited a Brooklyn high school that is mourning a student killed by random gunfire and promised to work with the slain girl's parents to end gun violence.
"These parents have lived through a terrible tragedy," Gillibrand said after meeting with Jennifer Pryear and Alberto Yard, whose daughter Nyasia Pryear-Yard was killed when a gunman fired into a crowd of teens dancing at a nightclub last month.
Gillibrand, an upstate congresswoman appointed by Gov. David Paterson to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate seat, has angered some of her fellow Democrats with her voting record, which earned her a 100 percent rating from the National Rifle Association.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who ran for Congress after her husband was killed and son wounded in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road shooting massacre, has said she would either challenge Gillibrand in the Democratic primary next year or find someone who would.
Since taking over the Senate seat on Jan. 27, Gillibrand has said she favors sensible gun restrictions while at the same time championing hunters' rights.
The visit to Nazareth Regional High School was the latest stop on her get-acquainted tour around the state to introduce herself to new constituents.
Appearing in Harlem last month with the Rev. Al Sharpton, Gillibrand was asked whether there might be NRA positions that contradict the gun-control needs of inner-city communities. "There might well be," she said. "I'll look into it."
She struck the same conciliatory tone Monday. "I've never had a position that was in favor of gun violence,"she said. "I've only had a position that makes sure people have a right to own guns in a law-abiding way."
Gillibrand was invited to the school, a Catholic high school in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn, by principal Barbara Gil, who thought the new senator could benefit from hearing students' views on gun control and on other issues including unemployment and immigration.
After a brief meeting with Nyasia's parents, Gillibrand joined 45 students as well as elected officials including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in the school's chapel.
The meeting was closed to the press, but student body president Martin Evelyn said afterward, "I hope that the senator will take the perspective that she has seen expressed today into the hallowed halls of the Senate."
Gillibrand said she would work on legislation to end interstate trafficking in illegal guns and on funding for after-school programs for teens. "We need to make sure there's something to do that's better than joining gangs," she said.
Gillibrand also said she would set up two student internships in her own Washington and New York state offices in Nyasia's honor.
Gil said students were still in shock over the loss of Nyasia, a popular 17-year-old who was co-editor of the yearbook. She said of Gillibrand, "We'll be watching her."
The teen's parents said they hoped Gillibrand would follow through on promises to fight illegal gun trafficking. "I want to give her the benefit of the doubt," the girl's mother said.
After Paterson announced the appointment last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg noted his "strong disagreement" with her record on illegal guns.
He said Gillibrand had actively opposed the efforts of New York City, and cities around the state and nation, to enact commonsense
 measures that keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals.
Asked Monday if she thought Bloomberg's criticism was unfair, Gillibrand said only that she looked forward to working with him.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us