Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rob Astorino: No ban on gun shows at Westchester County Center

Rob Astorino: No ban on gun shows at Westchester County Center
by Mark Lungariello, The Journal News, 10/5/15
Cross-posted from Lohud.com

A resident-created petition asks to reinstate the ban, which lasted 10 years under former County Executive Andy Spano.

A petition calling to ban gun shows at the Westchester County Center isn’t likely to go far, with the county executive saying he has no plans to put limits on firearm shows there.
A spokesman for County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, said there hasn't been a gun show at the center since 2012, but said Westchester would consider a request made by a licensed operator in the future.
"Banning sportsman shows ... where the sales of firearms to law abiding citizens are fully monitored and include background checks, does not address the fundamental causes behind horrific killings," Ned McCormack, an Astorino spokesman, said. "Our best defense for preventing anti-social, violent behavior is to look at root causes in a comprehensive way that encourages collaboration from all quarters, including supporters of the Second Amendment."
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, a Democrat, called to reinstate a ban on firearm and gun shows at the center and other government buildings after a shooter opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, killing nine people before fatally shooting himself.
A local resident started an online petition this weekend after Feiner called for the ban. Almost 900 people had signed the petition by Monday afternoon.
“A lot of people have been asking what they can do,” Feiner said. “I just hope the county executive will realize that a lot of people are against it, and don’t think government should be encouraging the sale of guns.”
Former County Executive Andy Spano, a Democrat, had imposed a ban on gun shows after 12 students and a teacher were killed in a mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Astorino lifted the ban when he came into office in 2010.
When a mass shooter in 2012 murdered 20 children and six school teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Astorino canceled a scheduled gun show at the County Center.
Since then, McCormack said, the county has undertaken initiatives that include the "Safer Communities" program. The county has increased crisis intervention training for police and first responders and has launched a program that aims to identify and counsel children at risk before tragedies strike.
Astorino ran unsuccessfully for governor last year with Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Moss was an outspoken critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act, which banned certain weapons and required registration for existing ones.
During the campaign, Astorino, who doesn't own a gun, said he'd repeal the law and appeared at several gun shows and rifle clubs across the state.
Staff writer Richard Liebson contributed to this report.