Protesters Picket Outside NRA Fundraiser in New Hyde Park

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By Nicholas Spangler
Updated September 27, 2018 10:05 PM

Long Island Activists protest Thursday night outside The Inn in Hyde Park while an NRA fundraiser took place inside.

A National Rifle Association fundraiser at the Inn at New Hyde Park Thursday night drew subdued protests from about 10 Long Island and Queens residents.

“I oppose the NRA in every way, shape and form, and having them come to my local area and having an event here is disconcerting to me,” said Joan Crinnion, 22, a recent college graduate from Garden City.

Signs like “Vote out NRA accomplices in Congress” drew honks and a few boos from passing motorists on Jericho Turnpike.

The event raised money for the NRA Foundation, a nonprofit supporting the “firearm-related public interest activities” of the NRA, according to its website.

Laurence C. Dittmer, 49, of Levittown, a firearms instructor and former foundation committee member, said there were 461 attendees inside. That number could not be verified because venue staff would not let a reporter inside.

Promotional materials for the event advertised dinner tickets for $65 per person, $2,000 for a Charlton Heston Table of Ten. Auction and raffle highlights included a John Wayne Lil’ Duke BB Rifle and a Henry Lever Action Shotgun with Second Amendment engraving and an NRA seal.

Money raised at the event will go toward national and local firearms safety programs, he said.

Protesters earlier this month had called for a boycott of the Inn over the NRA fundraiser and said some groups, including the Nassau County Democratic Committee, had canceled events there over concerns about the event.

Management said the Inn had signed a contract in December to host the fundraiser and does not discriminate against customers.

Protester Craig Mark, 60, a retired construction worker from Bayside, Queens, expressed empathy for both the Inn management, because they had workers to pay, and the NRA supporters inside, but said they needed to take into consideration a “crisis” of gun violence in schools.

“It can’t be swept under the carpet as a conspiracy,” he said. “It’s a reality.”