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Westchester County Not Renewing Contract For Annual Gun & Knife Show

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- After a Westchester County town supervisor called for the annual gun show to be canceled following the Newtown, Conn. school shooting that left 26 teachers and students dead, the county announced it would not be renewing the show's contract.

WCBS 880's Peter Haskell On The Story


In a statement Monday, county officials said, "First and foremost, Westchester County mourns with the nation for the families who lost loved ones in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The county stands ready to assist the residents of Newtown, Connecticut in any way it can and specifically has made available its Psychological Response Team, a unit within the Department of Community Mental Health that provides recovery support for the victims of traumatic events.

In the days and weeks ahead, the county will review its own policies and procedures to see if anything can be done to prevent these senseless acts of violence in the future.

With respect to the Sportsmen Firearm and Knife Show at the County Center, there is no signed contract for this event in 2013. The shows in past years were popular and run in a thoroughly professional manner. But at this time as the country grieves the loss of life in Newtown, a contract renewal is not appropriate.

Going forward, the county plans to be fully engaged in the complex and comprehensive conversation of how all Americans can continue to live in an open society while preventing all acts of violence, especially those aimed at our children, and ensuring that those suffering from mental illnesses get the help they need when they most need it."

The gun and knife show was set to take place at the Westchester County Center in White Plains Feb. 2-3.

The County Center is a government-owned building.

"It's totally inappropriate to have a gun show in a government building. People have a right to purchase guns but there's nothing in the Constitution that says that people should purchase guns in a taxpayer-funded building," Greenburgh town supervisor Paul Feiner told WCBS 880 before the county announced the gun show was canceled.

In a statement, Feiner said: "Thank you, County Executive Rob Astorino for cancelling the gun show. And, thanks to the many residents of Greenburgh and Westchester for joining the effort to stop gun shows at government buildings. It's my hope that this success will help to generate the momentum that will result in gun control legislation being approved by our nations leaders. Citizens can make a difference."

Connecticut state police said school gunman Adam Lanza, 20, used a semi-automatic .223 Bushmaster rifle to kill 20 first graders and six teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, before using one of two semi-automatic handguns he was carrying to kill himself as SWAT teams closed in on him.

The annual gun and knife show was to be hosted by North East Gun Shows. According to the company's website, shows were also planned in Stamford, Conn. and Waterbury, Conn. in early January.

"By allowing guns to be purchased at the county center, they're sending a message that the county is encouraging people to purchase guns," said Feiner earlier Monday. "Government should not be assuming the role of encouraging gun sales and encouraging more guns. We should be discouraging people from buying guns."

According to the WCC's website, the gun and knife show will have 350 tables with vendors selling military-style weapons, uniforms, ammunition and handguns, among other weaponry.

Police said Lanza was dressed in black tactical assault-style clothing and may have been wearing a bulletproof vest.

The Westchester gun show was canceled following the Columbine High School shooting massacre in 1999.

Do you agree with the county's decision? Sound off in the comments section below...

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