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County Legislators Call For Ban On Gun Shows, Astorino Defends Them

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. 20-21 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, the weekend after Inaugural Day. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- As several Democratic members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators called for a continued ban on gun shows at government facilities, County Executive Rob Astorino defended next month's planned show at the County Center.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Astorino said, “The Northeast Gun show has historically been one of the best run and most well-attended shows we host at the County Center. We expect the show in January to be no different and we encourage not just sportsmen and firearm enthusiasts in Westchester and throughout the Hudson Valley to attend, but also the general public."

Earlier Tuesday, as reported here by Daily Voice, 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.

Kaplowitz accused Astorino of quietly lifting his ban on gun shows to allow the Jan. 21-22 firearms 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 on the weekend after Inauguration Day. More details can be found by clicking here.

Astorino explained that next month's gun show "will see not only thousands of law-abiding citizens exercising their first and second amendment rights in a safe, legal and orderly way, but will also catch a glimpse of our nation’s history as there will be collector firearms from every war going back to our War for Independence."

After a gunman murdered 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in November 2012, 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

“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."

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, D-Hastings-on-Hudson, said, “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."

Astorino added: "It’s also important to note, that long before the Attorney General’s Office came out with their Model Gun Show Procedures two years ago," Astorino said. "Westchester had already required that a background check on every purchase at the show be conducted and that county police were on hand to ensure that all rules were being followed with no exceptions.”

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