Westchester County — 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 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,” Cora Greenberg, Executive Director of Westchester Children’s Association tells Black Westchester Magazine. “Such a ban would honor the County’s commitment to Safer Communities and promote the health and safety of all our residents, especially children.”