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Petitioners Call For Ban On Gun Shows At Westchester County Center

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some Westchester County residents have demanded a full ban on gun shows on county-owned property.

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, an online petition has gained steam in favor of banning commercial gun shows from the Westchester County Center in White Plains – where gun shows were banned at one time.

"There's been school shootings; movie been theater shootings," said Westchester Community College student Katherine Murray. "Come on now. Something needs to be done."

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino lifted the ban on gun shows at the Westchester County Center in 2009, allowing them to return to suburban New York for the first time in a decade. In the wake of the latest school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, Ossining resident Chuck Bell said the ban needs to be brought back.

"We think it sends a message that our public buildings should not be used for commercial gun shows," said Bell, who wrote the petition.

Three years ago, the county canceled a scheduled gun show at the building just after the Newtown, Connecticut massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School out of deference and sensitivity to the gun victims. Since then, there have been no gun shows held in the building -- but that, CBS2 is told, is only because no one asked.

Gun enthusiasts want gun shows brought back to the building.

"It's a legitimate, legal, lawful activity," said Scott Sommavilla of the Westchester Firearm Owners' Association. "There were shows here for 25 or 30 years and it never was an issue."

Astorino said gun shows might indeed come back to the building. Spokesman Ned McCormack told CBS2, "If there is a request at some point from a licensed operator the county would consider it."

Petitioners said they will start working to persuade the county legislator that gun shows should not be at the building.

"There's no Second Amendment right to have a gun show at a taxpayer-funded building," said Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner.

Opponents promise vigils and demonstrations if and when the guns return to White Plains.

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