The organizers of a firearms show at the Saratoga Springs City Center on Jan. 12 and 13 have agreed not to display or sell military-style, semiautomatic weapons like the one used to kill school children in Newtown, Conn.
“We have agreed to go along with the [City Council] resolution,” said Cathy Petronis of the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA Inc.).
The Saratoga Springs City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to urge NEACA not to display or sell the military-style weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines “of the type used in the Newtown tragedy” at the upcoming arms show.
Saratoga Springs Supervisor Joanne Yepsen and Mark Baker, president of the Saratoga Springs City Center, went to NEACA’s business offices in Mechanicville on Thursday to discuss the resolution with owners Cathy and David Petronis.
Last month David Petronis had advised exhibitors coming to the Jan. 12-13 arms fair not to bring the AR-15-type, military-style weapons with them or, if they did, to have them under their tables or in boxes on their display tables.
Cathy Petronis said NEACA has agreed to not have these semi-automatic weapons displayed or sold at the upcoming fair.
Yepsen said she was pleased NEACA has agreed to abide by the City Council resolution.
“I’m calling this a compromise,” Yepsen said. She said many of her constituents wanted the arms fair canceled in light of the Dec. 14 shooting of 20 young Sandy Hook Elementary School students and six adults at the school in Newtown.
“This could happen in any town or city,” Yepsen said about the tragedy.
The Saratoga Springs Accounts Department has issued a demonstration permit for Jan. 12 at the City Center.
City officials would not identify the person or organization seeking the permit but did say the application was reviewed by various city departments, approved and issued.
Susan Steer, the Saratoga Springs woman who circulated an online petition asking the City Center Authority board of directors to cancel the show, said she did not seek the public demonstration permit.
Steer said she understood the Saratoga Springs Peace Alliance may have applied for the permit to hold a peaceful demonstration at the City Center during the arms show.
Steer said she will attend a City Center Authority board meeting next week to again ask the board of directors to cancel the arms show. She also presented the online petition seeking to cancel the show to City Center President Mark Baker on Thursday.
The petition includes approximately 1,250 signatures of mostly Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County residents, Steer said. She said the online petition being circulated by a Hudson Falls gun owner asking that the arms show not be canceled does not have as many local signatures, but signatures of people living outside the Capital Region. This petition has more than 1,500 signatures.
“One thing I’m focusing on is that they can cancel the contract,” Steer said about the City Center Authority.
City officials said the City Center Authority is a separate legal entity from the city and the City Council has no control over what events are held at the City Center.
Mayor Scott Johnson said this week the City Council cannot prohibit the type of weapons that are sold at the arms fair.
NEACA Inc. arms fairs have been held at the City Center since the mid-1980s.