Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Yank gun show from Westchester County Center, readers say

Center should host merriment, not death machines

Gun shows must be banned on county property through the passage of Act 9417. This blood-stained spectacle is contributing to the new, violent normalcy of gun violence.
For us, the Westchester County Center is a place where people have gathered to see the Nutcracker, for college fairs and a chocolate expo. Turning a space that brings the community together for merriment, into a hall of death machines is toxic. By doing so, we show residents and visitors that buying guns is no different than buying chocolate; that guns are simply toys, meant to be collected, traded, and played with; that gunshots are no different than the shots made by our very own Westchester Knicks.
The most recent New York State GIVE Initiative Crime, Arrest, and Firearm Activity Report, issued on Nov. 14, details an alarming 12.2 percent increase in firearm-related New York murders from 2015 to 2016.
Our very own gun show, in a space meant to showcase the best of Westchester, encourages this statistic. We are putting more guns on the street, into the hands of killers. We are responsible.
We will not stand for the trivialization of violence by making it a spectacle in our own backyard. We beseech you to contact your district legislators, and end the normalization of gun violence.
Ariane Gottlieb and Elana Confino-Pinzon

Out of respect for Shamoya's family, ban gun show

Accompanying this front-page article is a photo of Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas trying to comfort the mother of Shamoya McKenzie, a 13-year-old girl killed by a stray bullet on New Year's Eve.
Late last year it was announced that a gun show is planned for the Westchester County Center this month. That show, according to a report in The Journal News, will include the sale of handguns and military-style weapons.
What's wrong with this picture?
Perhaps Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino could also take a few minutes out of his schedule to offer comfort to Shamoya's mother. At the same time, perhaps he might explain to her why the county's interest in promoting gun sales outweighs the county's interest in keeping our children — and the rest of us — safe from gun violence.
Paul Gross, M.D.
New Rochelle

Guns remain a public health issue

The Westchester Children’s Association supports a permanent ban on gun shows at the Westchester County Center or other County property. While we recognize that gun ownership is legal, and that most gun owners are responsible citizens, we nevertheless regard the proliferation of guns in our communities as a major public health problem with devastating consequences for children and their families.
Guns are a menace to children.
•    Nationally in 2013, 1,670 children (age 0 to 18 years) died by gunshot and an additional 9,718 were injured.
•    Nationally, every 36 hours, a child unintentionally fires a gun and kills or injures himself or someone else. Among children, the majority of unintentional shooting deaths occur in the home.
•    More than 75 percent of guns used by youth in suicide attempts were kept in the home of the victim, a relative or a friend.
•   Children are frequently the unintended victims of community violence, as we recently witnessed in the tragic shooting death of Shamoya McKenzie, 13, in Mount Vernon.
•    Domestic violence is more likely to turn deadly with a gun in the home. Children as well as partners can be the victims.
In 1999, gun shows were banned by former County Executive Andrew Spano in the wake of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. County Executive Rob Astorino also banned them temporarily in 2012 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20 young children and six staff members were killed. At that time, Westchester County launched its Safer Communities initiative to prevent and reduce community violence.
We believe that allowing gun shows at the County Center is an inappropriate use of a public facility, and we urge Westchester County to permanently ban gun shows at county-owned facilities. Such a ban would honor the County’s commitment to Safer Communities and promote the health and safety of all our residents, especially children.
Cora Greenberg
The writer is executive director of Westchester Children's Association. 

Recent shootings underscore need for ban

There were two tragic gun shootings during the holiday season in Mount Vernon. The City of Mount Vernon mourned the loss of a 13-year-old girl unintentionally shot and killed in broad daylight on Saturday, Dec. 31. A few days before that incident there was another gun shooting at a Mount Vernon nightclub. An innocent man lost his life. These incidents highlight the fact that guns kill people — intentionally and unintentionally.
Gun shows haven’t been held at the County Center since the Sandy Hook massacre four years ago.
Some legislators, residents and I are disgusted that a gun show and knife show should be held at a government building. The Board of Legislators will be voting on legislation to ban gun shows at government-owned buildings on Jan. 9 at the County Office Building in White Plains at 7 p.m. I expect to attend the meeting and will urge the Legislature to approve the legislation. If people want to purchase guns, buy the guns from private dealers — not in a government taxpayer-funded building.
The county should not promote the purchase of guns. When an accident occurs it could be fatal.
Residents who agree gun shows should be banned at the County Center should attend the County Board of Legislators meeting on January 9 at 7 p.m., 148 Martine Ave., White Plains.
Paul Feiner
The writer is Town of Greenburgh supervisor.

Astorino will lose vote if gun show is OK'd

I strongly object to Westchester County sponsoring the gun show. I have been a Westchester County resident for 53 years. I am a widow, the mother of five children and grandmother of 13. When I think of my grandchildren being exposed to the opportunity to purchase weapons, or worse yet, to the consequences of gun violence, I am fearful and horrified.
Gun shows should not be held in county-owned and county-sponsored venues. Gun sellers and gun buyers can rent privately.
After all this nation has suffered due to gun violence in places like Sandy Hook and Orlando (and many others too numerous to mention, unfortunately), Westchester County should be in the forefront of gun-control efforts, not supporting and encouraging gun sales.
Rob Astorino has my assurance he will not receive my vote in his run for governor if he allows this show to take place.
I applaud Paul Feiner for speaking out against the upcoming plans.
Please let us all work to make our world a place of peace, where ordinary citizens do not have to live in fear.
Eileen M. Cain
White Plains