WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – The Firearm and Knife Show and Sale kicked off as originally scheduled Saturday at the Westchester County Center in White Plains just days after County Executive Rob Astorino vetoed legislation that would have banned such events from county property.
In his veto message sent down to the legislature Friday, Astorino said, “the gun show satisfies all the requirements for its legal and safe operation” and “has historically been one of the best run and most well-attended events held at the (County Center).”
Astorino said he respected the “wide-range of opinion(s)” on the gun show, but is balancing the “divergent views of its citizens by using facts and the law, as opposed to emotion.” He added that the gun show at the County Center has been held for decades “without incident.”
The show, which opens for its second day at 9 a.m. Sunday, is the first at the Westchester County Center since 2012, according to lohud.com, which reported that Astorino canceled a scheduled gun show in February 2013 in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
According to Astorino’s office, the county executive felt justified in vetoing the legislature’s 9-8 vote on Jan. 9 to ban gun shows from county property.
Noting that federal, state and local laws are “in place to protect the public,” Astorino defended the gun show and many of the gun enthusiasts who attend the event.
“Statements that gun shows promote mass shootings cannot be supported by any objective criteria or evidence and unfairly demean law abiding citizens exercising their First and Second Amendment rights guaranteed to them by the United States Constitution,” the county executive said in his message.
In his veto message, the county executive called the debate over the gun show “healthy” and said it “reflects the diversity of our county and is to be respected.”
“The job of the government,” Astorino said, “is to balance the divergent views of its citizens by using facts and the law, as opposed to emotion, regardless of how sincerely and deeply felt.”