SAUGERTIES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A gun show planned to be held this weekend in Saugerties was officially canceled by the town board Wednesday night. The show, organized by New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates, was set to be held at the town-owned Kiwanis Ice Rink.
Originally on the agenda to reimburse the gun show organizer for the process, one member of the council proposed an amendment to instead allow the show to continue. That amendment narrowly failed after a tie-breaking no vote from the town supervisor.
Wednesday’s vote comes after a back-and-forth between the organizer, NEACA, and the town. Following a string of mass shootings, including the tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde, there were conversations between the police chief, town supervisor and organizer about canceling the event, which briefly occurred.
In an announcement canceling the show, David Petronis, the President of NEACA, said the following, “Taking into consideration the recent events of gun violence, both here in NY, and the tragic event in Texas, to continue with this gun show would have been irresponsible and insensitive to all those who recently lost loved ones.”
However, shortly after that decision was made, the organizer announced he was attempting to allow the show, which had been contractually approved to happen at the town facility, to continue as planned this upcoming weekend, a stance supported by many who spoke during the meeting’s public comment period.
“This is not the first time this gun show has been in Saugerties. It has been here, and many other venues, for years, years without incident,” said one speaker, who spoke on behalf of many of the vendors that were planning to attend this weekend’s event.
“I got every single one of my neighbors, they own a gun. They’ll go back and shoot it legally, but they’re not going to run around and shoot it at somebody, cause they all know how to safely handle it, and this what you’re talking about with people that go to a gun show,” another who supported the gun show added.
Meanwhile, those on the other side of the argument voiced concerns about recent events, holding a gun show on town property and the proximity to a school and playing fields.
“We need to honor those victims and families because we too live in a small town that upholds its youth. This is not the time to hold a gun show across the street from our high school, or adjacent to our soccer fields where games are played with childrens and families,” said a member of Mothers Demand Action.
“This is an epidemic. Why in the world would we want to take a chance that even one of those deaths could be related to a gun that was sold in Saugerties, on Saugerties town property,” one other person said.