There may be at least two more gatherings outside the City Center during this weekend’s Saratoga Gun Fair. The group, “Saratogians for Gun Safety,” has applied for a permit to protest. The permit was submitted to city hall on Monday according to group members, and they are awaiting its approval. Local representatives for the organization MoveOn.Org have also applied for a permit.
Both permits are awaiting final approval from the Department of Public Safety.
Charlie Samuels, who helped start Saratogians for Gun Safety this past weekend, says they already have more than 100 people signed up on their Facebook page. Their goal is to have the gun show banned from Saratoga.
“It was formed,” says Samuels, “Because the Sandy Hook (school shooting) is a watershed moment.” Samuels says the shooting has exposed the National Rifle Association (NRA) as having very unreasonable people at the top of the organization.
“The majority of the country and the majority of the NRA (membership) want gun control. So the few at the top are not speaking for the man at the bottom. It’s time that they did.”
Samuels says the group has been brainstorming over the past five days to decide exactly what they’ll do during their protest on Saturday. He says one idea discussed and discarded involved using bales of hay to present the recent shooting as the ‘last straw’ in gun violence. Instead, they are going to create a series of angels to represent the 26 people killed in Newtown on December 14.
“I saw this photo of angels on a hill that represented the Newtown tragedy,” says Samuels. “So we’ve decided to take that idea further. We’re going to make these angels and bring them to the protest. We’ll probably walk around in a circle, and in the middle will be someone reading the names of those killed in reverse chronological order. We’ll do this for the full four hours.”
The protest, if approved, is scheduled for 10am – 2pm.
A permit has already been approved for another group to demonstrate on Saturday. Members of The Saratoga Peace Alliance say their gathering is not a protest, but rather a silent vigil against gun violence. As reported earlier in The Wire, Group member Linda LaTendre says they hope to foster a dialogue with gun owners about how to end gun violence in the nation. “We really want to support responsible gun owners while also supporting meaningful protections for all of us.”
The Saratoga Gun Fair is a mainstay at the City Center, with four events scheduled for this year. This weekend’s show will be the 90th at the City Center, according to promoter David Petronis of Mechanicville*.
Petronis was an exhibitor at the gun show in Rochester this past weekend, where he told Saratoga Wire that banning anything has never worked. “They’re (the protesters) not making the world any better. They’re just making it a little more traumatic, keeping this whole thing alive.” And he specifically addressed the petition that has been circulated on Change.Org, asking that the gun show be cancelled. “If this petition probably wasn’t out there Saratoga Springs would never have our little problem of the city council having to address the situation.”
The original version of this story stated inaccurately that Petronis was from Mechanicburg.
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