The following statement was articulated by our Executive Director, Cora Greenberg, in direct response to the proposed ban on gun shows at the Westchester County Center.
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.
- And that doesn’t include suicides– 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.
- Further, 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.
- Finally, 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 Astorino also banned them temporarily in 2012 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, when 20 young children and six staff members were killed. At that time, Westchester County launched it’s 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.
Update on January 11, 2017…
On Monday, January 9th, the Westchester County Board of Legislators voted on the Gun Show ban and it passed 9-8 however County Executive Rob Astorino has made it clear he plans to veto the ban and we do not expect our 17-member Board of Legislators to have enough votes to override this veto (12 will be needed).
See the news coverage on this issue here:
CBS New York (1.10.2017)
Black Westchester (1.10.2017)
Our Executive Director, Cora Greenberg, was featured on local cable show “People to Be Heard” with John Bailey.