Shot down: Local NRA group pulls plug on polarizing fund-raiser

They never had a shot.

Organizers of a controversial National Rifle Association fund-raiser that outraged Brooklynites forced out of two different venues officially canceled the event, according to a Wednesday e-mail sent to ticket holders the day before the planned banquet.

But local gun-control advocates will proceed with a scheduled Thursday demonstration outside Borough Hall, which the activists expect to be more celebration than protest now that they’ve driven the gun-lovers out of Kings County for good.

“We told the NRA that they’re not welcome in Brooklyn and we beat them, and I think we’re entitled to do a little chest beating,” said Wrolf Courtney, a Windsor Terrace resident who helped organize the rally.

Members of the Brooklyn Friends of the NRA said they would keep the location of the fund-raiser a secret until the eleventh hour to avoid attention after Park Slopers and Coney Islanders publicly shunned them from their neighborhoods last month, according to Courtney, who purchased a ticket planing to protest the event from the inside.

But he and other ticket holders instead received the e-mail announcing the cancellation of the banquet — where the firearm aficionados planned to raffle off a shotgun, two pistols, and two rifles — and offering to fully refund the price of admission, unless attendees wanted to donate the fee towards supporting the local rifle-association chapter’s “many educational youth programs.”

In March, the owners of famed Coney Island catering hall Gargiulo’s bowed out of their original commitment to host the fund-raiser days after a contingent of elected officials including the neighborhood’s Councilman Mark Treyger and Public Advocate Tish James blasted them for supporting the gun-lovers.

Weeks later, progressive Slopers staged a similar offensive when the owner of Grand Prospect Hall announced he would welcome the displaced pistol-packers, claiming that nothing short of a court order would stop him from backing out of the commitment — only to recant his pledge later that same day after a chorus of outraged voices including local Councilman Brad Lander and Borough President Adams threatened a new round of protests against the event.

And although activists cheered the news of the bash’s official cancellation, the rifle association’s decision not to go through with the banquet came as a slight disappointment to Courtney and others poised to disrupt it.

“I was really looking forward to screaming at room full of NRA types, but we’re going to a little celebration anyway,” he said. “I am so ecstatic.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.