Saratoga gun show faces backlash following Newtown massacre
With the memories of Friday's horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, still painfully fresh for most Americans, some fear the next tragedy could hit closer to home if something isn't done. YNN's Matt Hunter reports on a growing effort to bring changes to next month's Saratoga Springs Gun Show.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Before getting to their regular business, the early portion of Tuesday night's Saratoga Springs City Council meeting focused largely on Friday's Newtown massacre.
"Anybody that thinks that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut could not happen at Saratoga [Springs] High School or Maple Avenue Middle School or one of the other schools in town is dreaming," resident Christopher Peake told council members during the public comment period.
In hopes of preventing a similar tragedy here, concerned residents brought forward proposals ranging from instituting local gun buyback programs and assault weapons bans, to canceling next month's gun show at the City Center or preventing its retailers from selling assault weapons and high ammo magazines.
"I have a hard time believing that if this occurred in a neighboring community or if it occurred here in our city that we would be allowing this show to go on," resident Charles Brown said.
"The last thing I'd want is Saratoga Springs Gun Show to be the place where the next massacre shooter has purchased their gun from," Saratoga Springs Supervisor Joanne Yepsen said.
Canceling the 30-year-old show would be up to its organizers, the NEACA. The organization’s leaders, who have already agreed to tag every weapon at the sale so their purchases can be more closely monitored, believe Tuesday's proposals violate clear second amendment rights.
"If it will make people happier or feel better to do this, and that's all it will do, 'I feel better now that you're not having them,' then the gun shops will sell them instead of the gun show so what's the point?” NEACA President David Petronis said. “There is no point. Other than I made somebody feel better but they didn't make me feel better because now they're infringing upon my rights."
Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen says he plans to draft a resolution urging the organizers to keep assault weapons out of the show. He and others believe allowing the show to conduct business as usual is a risk not worth taking.
"It's my feeling that that kind of weaponry should not be allowed in the city for any purpose, including a gun show," Mathiesen said.
"It won't solve all of the problems by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a start. It's an opportunity to get guns off the street," Peake said.
Petronis says he'll consider asking vendors to not bring semi-automatic guns to the show but adds that may prove difficult because all of their advertising has already been sent out.
The two day show is scheduled for January 12 and 13.