Report: Coney restaurant backs out of NRA event in face of local outrage

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The owners of Coney Island eatery Gargiulo’s have reportedly bowed to pressure from local pols, officials, and residents and cancelled its controversial April fund-raiser for the National Rifle Association.

The lawyer for the family that owns Gargiulo’s wrote in a letter obtained by NY1 that the restaurant was a more-than-century-old institution in the neighborhood, but that it had never dealt with a controversy of this magnitude, and decided to cancel the event in light of the response from locals.

“They have never had a national political issue land on their doorstep,” the lawyer wrote. “They thank everyone for their interest in this important dialogue and have decided it best to cancel the event.”

Earlier this week, a slew of local pols and officials — including Borough President Adams and Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island) — condemned plans for the Brooklyn Friends of the National Rifle Association’s April 12 event in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people. The event was slated to include a raffle giving away a shotgun, two pistols, and two rifles.

After NY1 reported the cancellation, Treyger released a joint statement with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D–Marine Park), Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Senator Diane J. Savino (D–Coney Island) and National Action Network Northeast Regional Director Minister Kirsten John Foy praising the top brass at Gargiulo’s for cancelling the fund-raiser, adding that cancelling the event was the right move given the national debate over gun violence, and the neighborhood’s long struggle with gun violence.

“We have worked hard to address gun violence in this neighborhood, and an event like this, particularly after the Parkland tragedy, was simply not in the best interests of our community,” the pols said. “Gargiulo’s has been an important and supportive partner of the community for decades, and the decision to cancel this event shows that Gargiulo’s has heard and respects the concerns of our community.”

News of the cancellation came just a day after co-owner Michael Russo told angry locals at Community Board 13’s Feb. 28 public meeting that the restaurant had no power to break its contract with the gun group and cancel the event.

“We’re stuck in a hard place, because we are in the community, we care about the community, but we’re in a position where we’re contractually bound to [the event]. The only thing that would influence it is if the NRA cancels it. We can’t,” said Russo, who’s also a member of the community board.

A rep for Gargiulo’s said management had no comment about the cancellation.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:48 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mallory from Bay Ridge says:
I'm thrilled to hear this news. I was a participant in the boycott of Gargiulo's, and I'm so glad they've had a change of heart and will now do what is best for the community. I look forward to bringing them my business this week in celebration of this brave and important decision.

Meanwhile, for anyone who is interested in Coney Island groups doing serious work to respond to and address gun violence, check out the Coney Island Anti-Violence Colaborative:
March 2, 2018, 9:49 am
Silly from Brooklyn says:
This is so silly, guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Why don't we also ban cars, planes and other means that are used in mass murders?

As long as seek our desire for immediate gratification to override our sense of logic and understanding, this problem will prevail. Putting blame on guns doesn't solve the problem and by not solving the problem makes all of us to blame.

Let's fight mental illness, not our rights.

For anyone who wants to eat and support legalized ideals, pls continue to indulge.

As for Gargiulo's, I was a big fan and big customer of some 40 years, and now I'll never return. They've sold out on your customers.

Going forward, they should stick to food, not politics!
March 2, 2018, 12:13 pm
JD from Gravesend says:
So now that y'all have successfully suppressed the NRA, how about discussing a very viable way to have your cake and eat it too? This does not need to be a case against our 2nd Amendment or yet another government regulation that will end up not meaning anything.
Put pressure on the boards of trustees/directors of all the gun manufacturers whose products are being misused. It is not a 2nd Amendment infringement if they stop making them available for civilian purchase and stick to only military sales. The government can save face by paying a little extra for these type weapons to offset the loss of revenue to the companies.
I think the MANUFACTURERS have a moral obligation to remove from the market those products that are being misused.
March 2, 2018, 12:15 pm
Joe Quinn from Forest Hills says:
Leftist bullies.
March 2, 2018, 12:22 pm
Cluck from Coney Island says:
The Cucks win one. Society looses again.
March 2, 2018, 1:03 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The Prison Ship martyrs weep.
March 2, 2018, 2:52 pm
Nicole from Bensonhurst says:
Automatic weapons are not classy and the NRA should be meeting to discuss as much.
March 3, 2018, 12:37 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Who said anything about automatic weapons?

Your ignorance betrays you.
March 3, 2018, 6:57 am
Realistic Person from Real World says:
I guess no criminal or mental case ever buys a gun on the street or from another criminal or mental case. They all go into stores and show their ID. They never use fake ID either.
March 3, 2018, 7:46 am
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
There is no 2nd Amendment right to unrestricted possession of weapons. It is conditioned on membership in a well regulated militia. Some day, hopefully soon, the legally correct analysis of the scope of the 2nd Amendment will again prevail.

I suspect that our Founding Father’s would be disgusted with the NRA, which is an extremist, mob rule oriented organization. The NRA effectively functions as a criminal’s lobby. Who else would fight for the right to possess armor piercing ammunition, exploding head ammunition, private gun sales with no background check (especially loved by criminals and terrorists), and civilian possession of military grade weapons (that’s what the AR-15 is; very few US military rifles have a full automatic fire option, the primary difference between an AR-15 and a military M-4 is that the M-4 has a 3 shot burst feature, and the M-4 is most often used in semi automatic mode, just like the AR-15).

This country has been fed a noxious load of BS by the criminal leadership of the NRA. As a responsible, licensed gun owner, They disgust me.
March 3, 2018, 1:30 pm
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Fred, you lost that argument a long time ago. The Heller case expressly held that the second amendment right to bear arms does not only apply to members of the militia. Your next paragraph is also baloney, but others can easily do the minimal research needed to debunk your points one by one.
March 3, 2018, 3:28 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Gary --
The Heller v DC decision is very unfortunate in my mind, BUT the majority decision was based strictly on the defense of oneself and their home/property. While it uncoupled the "service in a militia" from the individual right to bear arms, it most definitely did not remove the government's ability to apply restrictions.... the issue in DC vis-a-vis handguns was because they were fully banned, not simply restricted (for example, like here in NYC). Licensing, registry, limiting/prohibiting carrying in certain areas, restricting access to felons and mentally ill people, etc. etc. is most definitely NOT affected by the Heller decision. This is explicitly stated in the language of the majority. (By the way, the whole absurd "we need guns to fight tyranny" was not addressed by the Heller decision, ya know, because it's silly.)

Fred's 2nd paragraph... Yes, the NRA is an extremist organization. That's just true.

If it weren't for the NRA, we, as a nation would have made far far more progress toward reasonable and rational gun control regulations, licensing, training and registration. I foresee the NRA getting a bit of a bump in terms of $$ and influence because of conspiracy theory steeped "gun enthusiasts" are agitated. But in fairly short order, the the truth about the NRA will be exposed and they'll just be a whiny group hemorrhaging membership and unable to secure meetings with lawmakers. And HOPEFULLY folks will look at other organizations (including new ones) that actually focus on training and safety -- rather than supporting the NRA's lie that this is still their "core" work.

Also, the AR-15 and M4 are essentially the same weapon with the exception of automatic capabilities in the M4. That, again, is just true.
March 3, 2018, 3:51 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:

You are full of crap Gary. Helmet was incorrectly decided; just like many other prior Supreme Court decisions. Perhaps you recall hearing about the Dred Scott decision, for just one example. Maybe you liked that decision too; that wouldn’t surprise me.

As to how civilian and military assault rifles actually function, I dare you to prove me wrong. I have handled both varieties. I doubt you have.

The NRA has blown smoke up your ass.
March 3, 2018, 4:13 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:

Your understanding of the holding in the Heller decision is correct. However, the decoupling of the “well regulated militia” condition in the 2nd Amendment will be the basis for future challenges in the Supreme Court on gun control issues. The extremism of the NRA will ultimately provide the basis for those attacks; local and state legislators should target specific issues like armor piercing ammunition first, the NRA is sure to rise to the bait. Use those extremism to chip away at them.
March 3, 2018, 4:20 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Fred -- I hope you're right. However, it would have to be a very special lawsuit for it to make its way in front of the Robert's court. It would be pretty startling to see a direct challenge to the Heller ruling with no change in chief justice. (The principle of stare decisis is appropriately a massive hurdle in and of itself, even after a long time has passed and all of the jurists have changed.)

I think what we'd more likely see are court decisions that uphold state or federal regulations, registries and licensing to better define "shall not be infringed."
March 3, 2018, 4:38 pm
Charles from Bklyn says:
The Heller decision was not correct, and will be eventually overturned, especially in light of the people (such as those above) who cowardly hide behind the 2nd amendment while children are slaughtered. The NRA is a lobby group for gun manufactures, and those who support the NRA are tools of the military industrial complex. A.k.a. losers in life. Oh, and the supporters of the NRA can take their 1st amendment rights and shove them up where the sun doesn't shine. You have the blood of innocent children on your souls, and no amount of free speech is going to save you or convince reasonable and decent people otherwise. Save your stinking breath.
March 3, 2018, 7:52 pm
JD from Gravesend says:
Y’all are STILL missing the point! It’s not about the NRA orr 2nd Amendment or the Supreme Court or the Government! It’s about the MANUFACTURERS of the weapons.
No one ——ed about the AAA when the Ford Pintos where going up in flames!
Stop missing the forest for the trees.
Ruger, Kimber, Sig Sauer, etc., need to STOP selling those arms for civilian use, just like Ford stopped making the Pinto...for SAFETY’s sake.
THAT is where the emphasis needs to be, but no one is going there!
Open your eyes people. It’s an easy solution.
March 4, 2018, 9:01 am
Tyler from pps says:
JD —
We can and should do both!
A major difference with you analogynto AAA is that when Pintos were burning, AAA wasn’t lobbying hard to say exploding cars are a god-given right.
March 4, 2018, 9:28 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
The Bill of Rights now contains the "Second Suggestion"
March 4, 2018, 10:53 am
Tyler from pps says:
Rufus --
Understanding society/social order (and reality in general) requires a bit more thought than your ham-fisted view of the world.

The 1st Amendment does not describe unlimited rights of speech or assembly. Prescriptions to the meaning of the 1st amendment are rational; it doesn't make it the "First Suggestion"

The 4th Amendment hinges on interpretation and case law related to the definition of "unreasonable" and what constitutes "probable cause"; it is not the "Fourth Suggestion"

Just because you've invented some imaginary immutable truth in your pea brain concerning the 2nd Amendment, it doesn't mean reality concurs.
March 4, 2018, 5:11 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Henry -- One would think the folks who like to beat their chest "states rights" would freak out about reciprocal concealed carry too, but I guess their outrage is selective.
March 5, 2018, 2:28 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
No one suppressed the NRA. There are hundreds of other venues that will take their money for a catered event (and frankly, all of them have better food, cleaner dining areas, and probably treat their employees better than Gargiulo's). I stopped going there when I learned that the tips and gratuties that people add onto their catering bills DO NOT get shared with the staff. We had a party there, and two of the servers were friends of my son. When I asked them later how much they'd cleared out of the very generous tip we'd added to the very expensive bill, they told me they got nothing. The wait staff only gets tips that are directly handed to them. Anything you add to your bill goes right into management's pockets. So, please NRA, Catholic Charities, schools and other civic organizations - TAKE YOUR BUSINESS ELSEWHERE! GARGIULO'S DOESN'T DESERVE IT!
March 5, 2018, 7:27 pm
Mustache Pete from Windsor Terrace says:
They (heh-heh!) dodged a bullet this time, but the Russo family that runs Garguilo's sound like a collection of scum.
March 6, 2018, 5:46 pm

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