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Saratoga Springs Gun Show To Celebrate 100th Event


A Capital Region gun show is celebrating its 100th event this weekend, but protesters are upset with how the anniversary is being recognized.

New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates will hold its 100th show at the Saratoga Springs City Center. The downtown show held multiple times a year was first brought to the City Center more than 30 years ago.

Organizer David Petronis…

“We started at the City Center in September of 1984 with an antiques show. That was in August. And in the following month, in September, we did our very first arms fair, which we called the ‘gun and military show’ at the time.”

The event has been a hit since then and Petronis said he expects 80 vendors and between 2,000 and 4,000 people to attend the show on Saturday and Sunday.

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and City Center are hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of the 100th show at 4 p.m. Friday.

But not without protest.

Dierdre Ladd is a member of Saratogians For Gun Safety, which has protested the gun show in past years, including just after the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

“It’s just appaling that they would be celebrating in light of all the gun violence in our society,” said Ladd.

City Center president Mark Baker responded.

“This ribbon cutting is something that is happening as a member of our business community and it is certainly appropriate for any other business or group that has been active for a hundredth event. It certainly is not outside the realm of being a reasonable way to acknowledge it,” said Baker.

Petronis said he has had no issues with the City Center Authority since he began holding the shows on Broadway.

Ladd said her group is not opposed to all gun shows, but is against the location at the City Center, which is publicly owned.

“We think it should be out of the Saratoga City Center and in a place where they can be responsible for their own liability issues and not rely on taxpayers to do so,” said Ladd.

Ladd said the group is still planning how it will demonstrate against the show.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act gun control law, all dealers at gun shows in the state must be federally licensed. Petronis said vendors at his show have been licensed since before the passage of the law.

“We have done that at our gun shows before the SAFE Act, they have to  go through the FFL dealer. We worked closely with Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General, and developed some rules and regulations pertaining to gun shows, and then the SAFE Act came out and kind of superseded even those.”

Schneiderman attended the show in October 2013 with former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived a gunshot during a mass shooting at a Tuscon event in 2011.

Petronis said he has extended an invitation for Schneiderman to attend this year.

The organization will hold its next gun show later this month in Lake George. 

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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