‘We Refuse to Cooperate with Evil in our own Backyards’: Joint Statement on Gun Violence

By Councilwoman Debi Rose and Assemblyman Matt Titone

We were appalled to learn of plans to host an NRA fundraiser at the Vanderbilt in South Beach. As we search for solutions to the deadly scourge of gun violence, we call on the Vanderbilt to cancel an event that perpetuates the proliferation of guns on our streets.

We have just had three different gun scares in our schools. Our students and parents — including many Staten Island NRA members — sadly live in a fear that threatens to become the new norm — and we refuse to let that happen. A similar NRA event in Brooklyn was canceled after students, parents and public officials raised their voices in support of safety. Are we going to send a message that Staten Islanders care more about guns than the safety of our children?

Once a gun safety organization that supported common sense restrictions, the NRA now opposes universal background checks, bans on assault-style weapons, and even studying which measures might be effective at stemming gun violence — even when polls show that gun owners believe otherwise. At a time when we should be searching for solutions to keep our streets safe, the NRA puts up roadblocks to those solutions, further perpetuating violence on our streets and in our schools.

Our message is loud and firm: An organization that puts unrestricted gun ownership ahead of the safety of our students is not welcome on Staten Island. We are in search of solutions in our neighborhoods, and we refuse to cooperate with evil in our own backyards.


New York City Councilwoman Debi Rose represents the 49th District (North Shore) and serves as Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Council’s Youth Services Committee.

New York State Assemblyman Matt Titone represents the 61st District (North Shore) and is the Chair of the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee


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