The people who opposed this past weekend’s firearms show at the Saratoga Springs City Center now want the center to cancel future gun shows.
Susan Steer of Saratoga Springs said she and other opponents of the gun shows will be asking the City Center Authority to scrap the gun show planned for March 16-17.
A variety of organizations and city residents had urged the City Center Authority, without success, to cancel this past weekend’s show out of respect for the 26 children and adults killed Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.
Joseph Dalton, chairman of the City Center Authority’s board of directors, said last week the board would be “reviewing all bookings” at the center in light of the strong feelings expressed against having four gun shows each year in Saratoga Springs.
“We would like to hear more specifics [about Dalton’s statement],” Steer said Monday.
The New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates Inc. of Mechanicville has arms fairs scheduled for March, August, and October at the City Center on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. NEACA has been holding the gun shows in Saratoga Springs since the mid-1980s.
Cathy Petronis, who owns NEACA Inc. with her husband, David Petronis, said Monday the weekend arms fair was the best-attended event they have ever conducted in Saratoga Springs.
“[Susan Steer] made it the best show we ever had,” Petronis said about the vocal opposition to the show.
Lines of well over 100 people extended outside the City Center along the sidewalk on Maple Avenue on Saturday.
“People waited two and one half hours to get in. They were there to support the gun show,” Petronis said.
She said NEACA Inc. has already signed agreements with the City Center for the three additional shows this year. One of the reasons City Center officials said they couldn’t cancel this past weekend’s arms show was those contracts.
In a related issue, city resident Christopher Peake said he is putting together a gun buyback program for Saratoga Springs.
Peake, a retired television newsman, said he wanted to do something in the wake of the shooting of 20 young children and six adults Dec. 14 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
He has been talking to city officials and members of the community about the proposal. He will meet next week with city Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, and police officials about the program.
Peake has already talked to Saratoga Springs Supervisor Joanne Yepsen and others about his idea.
“I’m anxious to get something going,” Scirocco said Monday.
He brought up the gun buyback issue at a recent Saratoga Spring City Council meeting. He said he has already met with Peake.
“Some people have firearms in their house that they really don’t know what to do with,” Scirocco said. He said the buyback program would ensure that the unwanted guns don’t get into the wrong hands.
Peake said he already has received a donation toward the buyback program but is looking for more funding.
He noted there have been buyback programs in Albany and Schenectady but said the demographics of Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County are different from the larger cities in the Capital Region.
“Nobody knows what to expect,” Peake said about the interest in a gun buyback program in Saratoga Springs.