Saratoga Springs arms show faces new sale restraints
Sandy Hook killings prompt resistance to weapon displays
SARATOGA SPRINGS The operators of a firearms show held four times each year at the Saratoga Springs City Center will be asked not to sell rapid-fire, military-style weapons at its upcoming event in January.
Saratoga Springs County Supervisor Joanne Yepsen said Wednesday she has received dozens of phone calls and emails from her constituents asking that the arms show be canceled or, at the least, not sell weapons like the one used to kill 20 young students at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.
Yepsen has scheduled a meeting for Jan. 3 with New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA, Inc.) to discuss the Jan. 11-13 arms fair.
“We cannot have them in Saratoga Springs,” Yepsen said about the so-called “tactical” military-style weapons with clips containing numerous rounds of ammunition.
During the public comment period of Tuesday’s Saratoga Springs City Council meeting, several residents aired their concerns about the arms fair. Some said they thought the event should not be allowed to take place in light of the tragedy in Newtown.
“This is a time when people of the community want to take action so they feel better, feel safer,” Yepsen said about the calls and emails she has received.
Cathy and David Petronis of Mechanicville have been hosting the NEACA Inc. arms fairs in Saratoga Springs for nearly 30 years.
Cathy Petronis said Wednesday that she and her husband have been discussing the issue and will meet with Yepsen on Jan. 3.
“We have very few of these weapons in the shows,” Petronis said. They are considering asking the few dealers who sell such tactical weapons to keep them boxed and not visible on any sales tables.
Petronis said there is one vendor in particular — she would not name the vendor — who manufactures only the military-style, rapid fire weapons.
“We are considering turning him down for this particular show,” Cathy Petronis said. She said this vendor generally makes these weapons for law enforcement personnel.
“Our show is geared toward the collector,” Petronis said. Many customers buy vintage guns as an investment.
The New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates has been working with the state Attorney General’s Office for the past year to comply with new rules for arms sales in the state. The company has signed an agreement stipulating it will follow the new regulations. Vendors selling firearms at arms shows must have signs posted on their tables stating that all buyers must go through a NICS check.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, is used by Federal Firearms Licensees to instantly determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms or explosives, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation web site.
“Before ringing up the sale, cashiers call in a check to the FBI or to other designated agencies to ensure that each customer does not have a criminal record or isn’t otherwise ineligible to make a purchase,” says an FBI statement.
The AG’s office became concerned when reports surfaced that firearms were being sold at gun shows in the state without the proper background checks.
Petronis said the new rules require that all guns coming into shows must have a tag identifying the firearms to the owner and must either leave with the same tag or additional information that the gun was sold or transferred by a dealer through the NICS check system.