If you’re going to buy an assault weapon to cause a massacre, are you going to try to obtain it through a legal, highly-regulated gun show aimed at sportsmen and collectors in a state like New York that has very strict gun laws?
Or are you going to do it the easy way, by walking into a gun store in a state like Florida or Arizona or Wyoming or Kansas, among the many other states that have very lax gun laws?
In the shadow of mass shootings like the one that claimed 17 lives at a school in Parkland, Fla., last month, it’s natural for politicians to want to do something to curb the number of mass shootings.
And an event that has a lot of guns on display and for sale like a gun show is an easy target for that kind of statement.
As such, the Saratoga Springs City Council is expected to vote today at 11 a.m. on a resolution to ban the sale of firearms or ammunition at the Saratoga Springs City Center.
Such a ban would mirror a similar vote in Westchester County last month.
But prohibiting the City Center from hosting gun shows like the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates show in May would be an empty political gesture that will do nothing to curb mass shootings. It only will deprive legitimate, legal gun owners and enthusiasts from viewing and purchasing guns from legal dealers, and would deprive the city of tax revenue and business such events bring.
As we all know, New York has among the toughest gun laws in the country. It’s particularly stringent on gun shows.
According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, New York requires all firearm sales at gun shows to be processed by a licensed dealer.
Prospective purchasers are subject to the same background check process that applies to retail firearm transfers, a process that can take up to six months.
All dealers processing transactions must record the transfer, retain the transfer records for 10 years, and make the records available to law enforcement. If someone offers or agrees to sell a firearm at a gun show and then to deliver the weapon elsewhere in order to avoid the background check, those people are subject to criminal prosecution.
In addition, all ammunition sales must be conducted through a licensed dealer and only after a background check is conducted on the purchaser.
For more than 30 years, the operators of New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates have been hosting gun shows at the City Center.
Excluding an insensitive (and ultimately withdrawn) plan to display Adolf Hitler’s desk at a show last year, the group has a stellar reputation and no record of negative incidents. The group is an ideal client for a City Center event.
Other than fooling citizens into making them think their city government is doing something to stop gun violence, there’s no reason for the Saratoga Springs City Council to ban legal, highly regulated gun shows at the City Center.
There are better, more effective ways to stop the violence.
This isn’t one of them.