Rockland gun show canceled over Newtown shootings
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A gun show slated for a March weekend at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Suffern has been canceled in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, hotel management said.
Big Al's Gun and Premier Knife show was set to hold the two-day expo on March 2 and 3, according to the company website.
"We talked with the ownership after the shooting happened and the ownership would not support the gun show in light of what happened in Newtown, Conn., on Friday," the hotel's general manager, Robert Wilson, said.
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Hotel sales staff reached out to Big Al's on Tuesday and asked that the show be canceled, Wilson said.
"It was something we knew was happening in March and we wanted to cancel it," Wilson said.
A man who answered the phone at Big Al's declined to comment Wednesday. Since Big Al's is in control of ticket sales, it was not known how many had already been sold. Tickets were on sale for $10 per day, while children ages 10 and younger were to be admitted for free.
This would have been the first Big Al's gun show at the Crowne Plaza, Wilson said.
Two other ads on Big Al's website -- which has links to join the National Rifle Association and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association -- for shows in Danbury, Conn., and Poughkeepsie had already been slashed with red banners reading "CANCELLED" Wednesday afternoon. The banner for the Suffern show did not list the event as canceled.
"I know it's still up on their website and we're trying to contact them to get it off of there," said Wilson.
At Tuesday night's Rockland County Legislature meeting, New City resident Jack Borowsky, 56, made a heated plea to the legislators to cancel this gun show and to prevent any others from booking convention centers in the county.
"I always thought gun shows were something that happened in Virginia, happened somewhere far away," said Borowsky. "How do we take one of these things and bring them to our community?
Borowsky brought up the shooting on Friday that took the lives of 26 people, including 20 children.
"How close does that sound . . . knowing that the distance of 63 miles is only an hour and 15 minutes. The children's loss is our loss. When they said goodbye to their children in the morning, it was like us saying goodbye to our children in the morning.
"There's no greater role than parents protecting their children and there's no greater role of government than protecting the citizenship and especially its children. And we have a problem here, not only that it's so close . . . but these things affect all of us."
Borowsky became impassioned, shouting and pounding on the podium.
"It can be legal. It can be permitted. But Goddamnit, it won't happen in my county! Not without my objection."
Chairwoman Harriet Cornell (D-Nyack) had a sheriff's officer escort Borowsky away from the podium.
"Many people are very sympathetic but really, this is not the time nor the place," said Cornell, urging Borowsky to attend committee meetings to speak out on the issue.