Attorney general, gun-show operator form unlikely alliance
Schneiderman a welcome guest at Saratoga Springs show
SARATOGA SPRINGS One of the state's most notable gun-control advocates was a welcome guest at Saturday's gun show in the Saratoga Springs City Center.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was led around by show operator David Petronis, with the unlikely pair focusing on new show regulations put in place earlier this year and at gun shows around the state. The stricter regulations, designed to ensure accountability for sales, were put into place after undercover officers working for Schneiderman found weapons were being sold without proper background checks.
As a conservative Republican, Petronis said he doesn't always agree with Schneiderman, who he described as a liberal Democrat, but characterized the tighter controls against illegal sales as reasonable.
“This is fine with me. There is no problem with any of this. In fact, I think things run smoother," he said, though he also admitted, "It costs me a little more money this way.”
One regulation involves tagging weapons as either for sale or sold, while also noting a federal point-of-sale background check had been performed on weapons that were sold. Tags are checked by security guards at exits.
As part of the crackdown, Petronis said he also notifies local police his show is coming to town, so they can increase patrols in nearby parking lots to prevent illegal gun sales outside the show.
Schneiderman credited Petronis with being one of the first show operators in the state to adopt the procedures, which he also helped write.
"We all want people to be safe and make sure that good guys can get guns and bad guys can't get guns," Schneiderman said, adding that New York could serve as a model for the rest of the country.
Petronis echoed this sentiment, saying, "I hope all the shows, large or small, conform with what we're doing."
Resting just below the surface of the visit was the animosity the crowd and vendors had for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's SAFE Act, which was only referenced a few times with Schneiderman.
The gun show continues today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will return the weekend of Oct. 11. Next year, the show is already scheduled to return in January and March.