Cancellation of Saugerties gun show remains in place as City Council ends efforts to bring it back – Daily Freeman
SAUGERTIES, NY — City Council members voted against allowing a gun show promoter to reverse its decision to cancel a June 17-19 event at Cantine Field’s Kiwanis Arena.
Supervisor Fred Costello, Councilor Mike Ivino and Councilor Leeanne Thornton agreed Wednesday night to return a $2,000 deposit for use of the Kiwanis Ice Arena at Cantine Field. Councilor Josh Horton objected and sought to authorize the event, while Councilor Peg Nau abstained without giving a reason but also sought to authorize the event.
The meeting drew 185 people and a small contingent of city police. Among the speakers were 13 people, who were mostly non-residents, seeking to have the gun show reinstated; and 17 people who were almost all residents and opposed to allowing the event.
Last week, the New East-Coast Arms Collectors Associates Saugerties Gun Show was canceled due to recent mass shootings in Buffalo and around the country “by mutual agreement between the city and the promoter,” according to a press release. Costello’s spouse, NEACA President David Petronis. and Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra. Petronis reversed his position a day later and asked the city to disregard his earlier statement and allow the event to proceed. Venue manager Rob Klegman later said the event would go ahead, but Costello said he intended to honor the original cancellation. The rink is municipal property.
Among the concerns was the expectation that the gun show would get even busier due to the recent controversy, and that it would be inappropriate as the nearby Cantine ball diamonds are being used for a softball tournament to young people. Officials estimated that between the tournament, summer camp registration, tryouts for the summer ball teams and youth soccer practices, there would be around 1,000 children at the resort.
“Cantine Field is the heart of this community,” Thornton said. “It’s not a place to hold a gun show with its proximity to the students.”
All board members and several of the speakers opposed to the venue chosen for the gun show acknowledged that gun ownership is common in rural Saugerties. Ivino said the controversy was partly the board’s fault for failing to recognize the poor optics of a location across from a playground and having poor timing after recent school shootings.
“I’m not going to be the person to sit here and see something tragic happen and ask a relative to come see me and ask me why I let this happen,” he said. declared.
Elmer LeSuer, legislative director of Federated Sportsmen’s Club of Ulster County, was among the speakers who tried to convince board members of the safety of the event. He said the opposition came from “outside organizers” and that he was not convinced that having a high school near the rink should play a role in opposing the use of the arena for a gun event.
“If the school is safe, you can have a gun show in the school parking lot without any child ever being (at) risk of any danger,” he said. declared. “If the school is not secure, it doesn’t matter whether the arms exhibition takes place in the school car park, at the other end of the city or in Timbuktu. In short, proximity has no impact on security.
Resident Laura Phillips was particularly troubled by the event’s efforts to seemingly encourage youth participation.
“The ad says ‘free for children under 14’,” she said.
“My husband always had a gun, a deer gun,” Phillips said. “Guns are tools and should be used for hunting or law enforcement, (but) they have instead become a national obsession and treated like toys. Hosting a gun show in our arena Kiwanis encourages the glorification of guns to children “under 14 with an adult”. It looks like a circus or a skating show.
Phillips added that there are still local memories of a father and son’s arrests in 2018 after the son praised the Columbine killers, who conducted a police investigation that revealed the family collected and manufactured its own weapons.
Resident David Radovanovic described the profits from the event as making “blood money” that could trickle down to Saugerties if a weapon purchased at the rink was used in a mass shooting.
“It’s hard to believe that Nazi artifacts and lethal weapons in front of a children’s high school, playground and family recreation (could) seem appropriate,” he said.