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Westchester Board Of Legislators Calls For Showdown On Banning Gun Show

Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, who is chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, said he learned about next month's firearms show at the County Center from this sign. "That's a crazy way to do things,'' Kaplowitz said on Tuesday.
Michael Kaplowitz, D-Somers, who is chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, said he learned about next month's firearms show at the County Center from this sign. "That's a crazy way to do things,'' Kaplowitz said on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Provided
The Westchester County Board of Legislators plans to vote Jan. 9 to ban gun shows in public facilities after one was scheduled for Jan. 21-22 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, the weekend after Inaugural Day.
The Westchester County Board of Legislators plans to vote Jan. 9 to ban gun shows in public facilities after one was scheduled for Jan. 21-22 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, the weekend after Inaugural Day. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This story has been updated.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators vowed there will be a showdown on Jan. 9 over whether a gun and knife show can take place at the County Center in White Plains, as reported here earlier by Daily Voice.

"I support the Second Amendment, but it doesn't have to be at the County Center," BOL Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, a Democrat from Somers, said on Tuesday.

Kaplowitz accused Republican County Executive Rob Astorino of quietly lifting his ban on gun shows to allow the Jan. 21-22 gun and knife show at the County Center "in a play for Upstate support" -- assuming Astorino attempts a second bid for governor.

"It doesn't play well in Westchester County," Kaplowitz told Daily Voice.

Kaplowitz said he has enough votes to pass a gun show ban at the next meeting of the 17-member county legislature. "We are drafting legislation for the Jan. 9 meeting. I am pretty confident we have the nine votes to pass it," Kaplowitz said.

NorthEast Gun Shows and Westchester Collectors announced a two-day firearm and knife show/sale at the County Center the weekend after Inauguration Day. More details can be found by clicking here.

After a gunman murdered 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in November 2012, County Executive Rob Astorino canceled a show scheduled for February 2013 at County Center. There hasn't been one since.

More than 3,600 people have signed this petition calling for a ban on Westchester gun shows.

Westchester Collectors has hosted gun shows since the early 1980s at the County Center. Kaplowitz called it "insensitive" of Astorino to allow a gun show to use the same family entertainment venue as basketball games, the circus and reptile exhibits.

For sale at the 350-table gun show will be modern, antique and collectible firearms, ammunition, handguns, knives, military-style weapons, books and gun-related memorabilia.

“I first introduced the County Gun Show Ban in 2010, when I heard of the actions taken by the County Executive," Legislator Ken Jenkins, a Yonkers Democrat said on Tuesday. "Since that time, I have fought to have a fair hearing for this bill that aims to ensure the Westchester County Center is used for purposes that promote the positive ideals that make up one of our County’s most treasured assets.”

“I am asking that Board of Legislators immediately hold a vote on the proposed gun show ban legislation. We need to discuss how we as a County feel about using our facilities on purposes so closely associated with horrific violence” Jenkins said.

Legislator Catherine Parker, a Rye Democrat who recently held meetings with residents concerned about the opening of a gun store in Harrison, said, “This is a growing trend in Westchester County and we . . . need to send a clear message that enough is enough."

“In our current climate, with reported threats of violence at more than one Westchester school in recent weeks, it sends a terrible message for the county to sanction a gun show on its property. The county should not put the community at risk, and potentially create liability for our taxpayers,'" said Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, D-Hastings-on-Hudson.

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