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Friday, 13 January 2017 10:08

Gun Show Returns to City Center

By | News
Gun Show Returns to City Center
SARATOGA SPRINGS — After months of an uncertain future in Saratoga Springs, the New East Coast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA) and New York State Senator Kathleen Marchione announced that the NEACA Arms Fair, popularly known as the Saratoga Gun Show, is returning to the Saratoga Springs City Center on Memorial Day Weekend. President of the NEACA, Inc. Gun Show and Military Exposition David Petronis had received word from the City Center last August that there were no available dates for the show through 2016 and into 2017. That, combined with protesters calling for the publicly-owned facility to ban gun shows, had Petronis seeking other venues, and the show had no shortage of invitations to move from the Saratoga Springs City Center, which had been its longtime home. Last fall, the Rensselaer County Legislature passed a unanimous resolution to invite the NEACA’s Saratoga Arms Fair to that county. In a statement released to the press, Petronis said he has received invitations to (the new) Albany Convention Center; Schenectady Tourist Bureau in the new Casino and/ or Armory; Whitehall Armory; Glens Falls Civic Center; and South Burlington, Vermont. But the NEACA and local gun advocates wanted the show to continue its biannual Saratoga presence, so Senator Marchione, (R,C,I,Reform-Halfmoon), Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, and longtime Second Amendment advocate in the New York State Senate, launched a grassroots petition drive that received 2,464 signatures both online and offline through Facebook, GoKathyGo.org, and a petition at the August gun show. “When we were down, and counted out, lots of people wrote us off – nobody stepped up like Senator Kathy Marchione did to fight and help save our show. Nobody,” said Petronis. Senator Marchione also addressed the Saratoga Springs City Center Authority Board in October. “For 32 years, the Saratoga Gun Show has been a tradition and an important part of our Saratoga community. Since 1984, hundreds of thousands of proud, patriotic gun owners have walked through the doors of the Saratoga Springs City Center, visited the Gun Show, exercised their God-given Second Amendment rights and supported our local economy,” Senator Marchione said. Ryan E. McMahon, recently selected as the new Executive Director of Saratoga Springs City Center, explained that a successful increase in bookings was the main reason the City Center could not guarantee a show to the NEACA. “Senator Marchione is a long time friend of the City Center,” said McMahon. “Her thoughts are always welcome. Saratoga City Center Authority is a state authority, and we can’t discriminate against any legal business, of which the gun show is one. We book conferences first, which is business that drives local hotel rooms, and later bookings are for gate shows or sales such as the gun show.” In 2016, the facility created 261 revenue producing days, achieving 86 percent occupancy. According to McMahon, 2017 is already on track to exceed the 2016 sales figures. He said there’s new competition in the area, which leads to new opportunities. Current City Center bookings for conferences and conventions now reach as far out to 2021. “We are at a high water mark for bookings; I expect a lot of booked days this year,” said McMahon. “With 260 days booked a year, some things cancel or don’t make it through, and this weekend became open. It’s Memorial Day Weekend, not a weekend the Arms Fair historically ever wanted to book, but that’s what came available, and they took it.” But with the June vote by the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee to request the city council adopt an ordinance banning firearm sales and shows at the City Center, and the protests and petitions from Saratogians for Gun Safety, the confirmed show dates in May are being felt with relief and triumph by gun advocates. “This is a wonderful victory for gun owners and for our Second Amendment. I am truly proud of the success of our grassroots petition drive to save the Saratoga Gun Show. It’s crystal clear that our actions and advocacy spoke louder than words, had a real impact and helped keep the gun show right here in Saratoga. This is a terrific result and I want to thank NEACA President David Petronis, members of the City Center Authority Board and, most of all, the 2,464 people who signed our petition and made this victory possible,” Senator Marchione said. Petronis had nothing but praise for Marchione. “Senator Kathy Marchione proved herself a true patriot who delivered real results for gun owners. While it’s sad that some anti-Second Amendment politicians in the City did everything they could to try to drive away our show, Kathy Marchione stood up and did the work. Gun owners like me are proud to have a friend like Senator Kathy Marchione in our corner fighting for us,” said Petronis. Recently, the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) rated Senator Kathy Marchione A+ – the NRA-PVF’s highest possible rating – for her legislative and voting record of supporting and defending the right to keep and bear arms. The Saratoga Gun show, also known as the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA, Inc.) Gun Show and Military Exposition, will return to the Saratoga Springs City Center May 26, 27 and 28 of this year. The Saratoga Springs City Center offers 32,000 square feet of leasable space and is at the core of a unique conference complex. The City Center has served as host to corporations, New York State associations, trade groups and northeast regional organizations. For more information visit www.saratogacitycenter.org.
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