On heels of yesterday’s rally outside Westchester County Center, Latimer calls on Astorino to ban sale of rapid-fire gun accessory allegedly used in Las Vegas attacks, demands Astorino come clean on status of gun show next year
Latimer calls for rejecting NRA extremism, blasts Astorino’s NRA campaign contributions and support for sale of Nazi paraphernalia at last year’s gun show
Latimer to Astorino: Stop playing gun lobby politics
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – One day after joining fellow county lawmakers and gun safety advocates to renew calls to ban gun sales on county property, Democratic nominee for Westchester County Executive George Latimer is calling out NRA-supported Rob Astorino’s conflicting response to the growing gun controversy in Westchester. Gun show promoters are already publicizing the 2018 show, but Astorino refuses to admit that the controversial show is in the works. Latimer also issued a list of demands that includes clarification on the county’s oversight of the gun shows, a list of show vendors that may have sold the “bump stock” gun accessory cited in this week’s Las Vegas attacks, and a renewed call to banning the gun shows and hate symbols on county property.
“Westchester stands in solemn mourning for the victims of the Las Vegas attacks, and we stand united with the rest of the country in demanding action to pass common-sense gun regulations,” said Latimer. “But instead of taking action, Rob Astorino is hiding behind Trump-like rhetoric to avoid talking about the root cause of this mass murder: this nation’s easy access to military-grade weapons and accessories only designed to kill as many people as possible. Rob Astorino chooses to stand with his NRA donors, against common sense and against the values of our community. Military style weapons, including the ‘bump stocks’ allegedly used in Las Vegas, should never be available for sale in Westchester or anywhere. Rob Astorino needs to stop playing gun lobby politics and start getting real with Westchester families.”
In a letter sent today to the County Executive, Latimer is issuing a list of demands on the Republican pertaining to the planned gun show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. In stark language, the Democrat accuses Astorino and staff of issuing conflicting statements on reports that a gun show is scheduled to return to the county property next January, as well as criticizes his dismissal of reports that last year’s show included the sale of Nazi and Confederate paraphernalia. Earlier this summer, Latimer and county lawmakers criticized Astorino for this in light of deadly protests by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Latimer is demanding public release of the county’s efforts to ensure the shows’ compliance with state and federal laws; a full list of all vendors from prior shows or scheduled to participate in January; and a commitment to banning the sale of neo-Nazi, KKK or other hateful imagery on county property. County lawmakers previously passed a law banning the shows on county properties, which Astorino vetoed.
Another item on the list deals directly with the attacks in Las Vegas, which left more than 50 people dead and scores more injured in what is the worst mass shooting in modern American history. Based on reports that the Las Vegas shooter used a special, cheap modification called a “bump stock” to convert legal semi-automatic weapons into nearly automatic firearms capable of shooting more than 400 rounds per minute, Latimer urged Astorino to release the county’s policy on their sale, and to ban the items at gun shows. Bump stocks are not currently illegal in New York State, though, as the letter points out, their use would render a gun illegal under the provisions of the SAFE Act.
A copy of Latimer’s letter is below:
October 4, 2017
Honorable Robert P. Astorino
Dear County Executive Astorino:
In light of the terrible events earlier this week in Las Vegas, a great deal of concern has been raised regarding items that can be used to turn a legal semi-automatic rifle into a rapid fire weapon – commonly known as “Bump Stocks”. Adding a bump stock to a weapon such as an AR-15, a modification that is in fact specifically designed for that weapon, uses the recoil of the rifle, when fired, to greatly increase the number of rounds that can be consecutively fired.
Currently, Bump Stocks are not illegal in New York, but adding them to a weapon in our state would render that gun not compliant with the NY SAFE Act. Thus, the purchase of a Bump Stock in New York serves no other purpose than to make a legal gun an illegal one. This form of weapon modification allegedly permitted the perpetrator of the Las Vegas attacks to shoot as many as 400 rounds per minute, causing the unfathomable death toll our nation now mourns.
In response to these attacks and to my own efforts to address the issue of gun sales in our community, your office has issued conflicting statements on the future of the controversial gun shows at the Westchester County Center and the items sold there. Promotional materials indicate that the next Westchester Gun Show is slated for January 20 and 21, 2018. However, a spokesperson for your office was reported as indicating that “no dates [have been] agreed upon.” Likewise, your office has dismissed very real and disturbing reports of Nazi and Confederate paraphernalia having been sold at last year’s show, an action that ignores the pain that this imagery inflicts upon countless Westchester families.
As such, it is critical that you share the following information with us regarding the 2017 Westchester gun show, as well as the upcoming 2018 gun show.
1) Does the County gather information regarding history of compliance with state and federal law for the vendors and the items they sell at Westchester gun shows?
2) What does the County do to ensure that only items legally compliant with state and federal law are sold at gun shows?
3) Are Bump Stocks sold at Westchester Gun Shows? Please provide the names of the vendors selling Bump Stocks.
4) Does the County have a policy banning the sale of Bump Stocks at the Westchester Gun Shows? If not, would you consider implementing one immediately?
5) To ensure the safety of the residents of Westchester County, please provide a list of all vendors that participated in the 2017 gun show, and the current list of the anticipated vendors for the 2018 gun show.
6) Will you commit to prohibiting the sale of hate materials, such as Nazi and Confederate Paraphernalia at county events.
7) Will you, in light of the Las Vegas attacks, commit to the ban on the sale of guns on county property, restoring the practice put in place following the massacres of Columbine and Sandy Hook.
Far too often, we have seen our fellow Americans fall victim to instruments of war that have no place in civilian hands. The true test of leadership is to ensure the safety and security of all Westchester residents at such a difficult and trying time. I implore you, as a fellow Westchester resident, to stand not on the side of powerful gun lobbies, but on the side of decency and safety. In answering these questions for every Westchester family, you can help bring about positive change in our community.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in addressing this request.
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