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Saratoga school board to discuss firearms show issue

Residents urge opposition after shooting

Monday, January 21, 2013
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— The Saratoga Springs Board of Education will discuss whether it will oppose upcoming firearms shows at the Saratoga Springs City Center when it meets this week at Skidmore College.

The gun show issue surfaced at the school board’s Jan. 8 meeting. Several members of the audience asked the board to urge the City Center Authority not to host the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates shows out of respect for the 20 young elementary school children and six adults shot and killed in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14.

The Mechanicville-based NEACA Inc. held a well-attended arms show Jan. 12 and 13 at the City Center. The next show is planned for March 16 and 17, then two more are planned this year, one in August and the other in October.

School board member Frank Palumbo of Wilton said on Jan. 8 that the board should “take a stand, take a leadership role” regarding gun shows being hosted in the city only a few blocks from the Lake Avenue Elementary School.

“I don’t like the idea that [the City Center] promotes this kind of business,” he said.

The board took no action at the Jan. 8 meeting but did place the gun show issue on Thursday’s agenda for discussion.

Board President Regina Gapczynski said Monday that no resolution regarding opposition to the gun show has been prepared.

“We will have to see how the [board] decides. We will have our discussion,” she said.

She said the district and the board have focused on student and staff safety and building security for some years and are reviewing all policies and practices in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

“We want to make sure all our employees follow the practices,” she said.

When asked about the board taking a position on the three upcoming gun shows in the district, Gapczynski said the City Center is controlled by another governmental body.

“Do we want those groups to come in and run our district? Should we tell these governmental bodies how to run their [business]?” she asked.

Susan Steer of Saratoga Springs is also planning to attend Thursday’s school board meeting to again ask the board to take a stand against the upcoming gun shows. Steer had circulated an online petition in late December opposing the Jan. 12-13 gun show at the City Center. About 1,500 people signed this petition while 1,700 people signed an online petition circulated by a Washington County gun owner saying the gun show should be held as planned.

Some months ago the school board agreed to hold one of its meetings at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery on Skidmore’s North Broadway campus.

Gapczynski said Skidmore government professor Robert Turner invited the board to meet at the Tang as part of the museum’s “We the People” exhibit about the Constitution and democracy.

The board members had no idea they would be discussing such a controversial issue as guns and gun shows at Thursday’s meeting, Gapczynski said Monday. The board usually meets in one of the district’s schools.

 
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