Eyebrows were raised in the progressive precints of the West Village this week when the New York Times ran a story over the weekend listing all of the New Yorkers who are licensed to carry firearms. The list included names like Roger Ailes, Alexis Stewart (daughter of Martha) and John Catsimatidis.
Also on the list: Yetta Kurland, a well-known civil rights lawyer who challenged Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a spirited primary in 2009.
Today Kurland sent out an email to her supporters with a letter she wrote to The Times that tries to explain the reasons why she exercises her Second Amendment rights and calls out the paper for trivializing the plague of gun violence.
“By placing those whose job responsibilities might call for firearm licensing (myself, other officers of the court and law enforcement like the Queens DA) alongside glamorous celebrities, you risk portraying guns as inviting, even fashionable,” Kurland writes.
We have reached out to Kurland for an explanation about why her job responsibilities–she is the founder of a law firm– necessitate handgun ownership and will update when we receive an answer.
Kurland is considered one of the most prominent LGBT activists in the city and she is at the forefront of the fight to bring another hospital to the area after the closing of St. Vincent’s. She is also a leading contender to replace Quinn in the City Council.
Full letter below:
I wanted to share my response to a recent article that ran in the NYTimes regarding firearms.
To The Editor:
I worry your recent article “The rich, the famous, the armed” (Feb 20) portrays firearms as tantalizing accoutrements of New York’s power elite.
By placing those whose job responsibilities might call for firearm licensing (myself, other officers of the court and law enforcement like the Queens DA) alongside glamorous celebrities, you risk portraying guns as inviting, even fashionable.
However unintended, headlines like “The rich, the famous, the armed” and “boldface names with gun” dangerously play into Americans’ fascination with firearms. It undermines our efforts to eliminate gun violence, unlicensed handguns, and laws that allow the sale of semi-automatic weaponry.
Guns are not funny or amusing. They are the instruments of tens of thousands of violent deaths each year. Instead of glamorizing or trivializing guns, I wish your paper would bring attention to important efforts to control gun sales around the country, including the efforts of our Mayor.
Yetta Kurland, Esq.
New York, NY
Feb. 20, 2011