An established Italian restaurant in Brooklyn has canceled a fundraiser for the National Rifle Association after facing backlash from community members in the wake of the Parkland school shooting.
Gargiulo’s, which has been in Coney Island for a century, announced on Twitter that it has canceled the “Brooklyn Friends of the NRA” event that had been planned for April 12.
“The Russo family of Gargiulo's Restaurant has provided a venue for thousands of community events & family celebrations,” the tweet reads. “They thank everyone for their interest in this important dialogue & have decided it best to cancel the event.”
Re: #NRA event: "...the Russo family of Gargiulo's Restaurant has provided a venue for thousands of community events & family celebrations.... They thank everyone for their interest in this important dialogue & have decided it best to cancel the event."— Gargiulo's (@gargiulos) March 1, 2018
This would have been the second annual “Brooklyn Friends of NRA” fundraiser held at the Coney Island eatery. The Friends of NRA website shows a fundraiser was hosted there April 27, 2017.
This year’s event would have included gun raffles and auctions, featuring prizes like a shotgun, a .22, a handgun, a “women’s rifle,” and more, according to posters for the event published on Grub Street.
With the event planned for only weeks after the Parkland High School shooting in which 17 people were killed, both residents and elected officials criticized the fundraiser.
“This place celebrates the death of 17 children by holding the NRA fundraiser,” one recent Yelp review reads. “Won't break bread with people with no souls.”
In a joint statement released earlier this week, Council Member Mark Treyger, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Senator Diane Savino called the event “profoundly disappointing” for a community institution.
With the news that Gargiulo’s has canceled the event, those officials released another statement on Thursday saying they were pleased the owners heard their concerns.
“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 statement continued. “Gargiulo’s has a well-deserved reputation for being a key partner in the effort to revitalize Coney Island. … 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.”
I join @RepJeffries, @NYCPA, @NYCComptroller, @dianesavino, and @KirstenJohnFoy to say we're extremely pleased that the owners of Gargiulo’s have heard and recognized the sentiments of our community and have agreed to cancel the NRA-sponsored event pic.twitter.com/sBYykv0t41— Mark Treyger (@MarkTreyger718) March 1, 2018