gun control

Voices raised at gun show

by Kristen V. Brown,  |  published on January 14, 2013

As a national debate on gun control plays out with swelling vigor, it raged on here in one single city block: Outside the Saratoga Arms Fair gun-rights activists faced off against anti-firearm protesters, yellow barricades and police officers relegating each group to their own separate swath of sidewalk.

The gun show, which has taken place at the Saratoga City Center for nearly 30 years, has become a source of virulent contention over the past two weeks as some community members called for canceling the show in the aftermath of the grim Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

One petition launched in opposition to the show has garnered over 1,400 signatures; a petition on the same website in support of the show has collected more than 1,800. Show organizers agreed to a city request to ban the sale and display of AR-15-style firearms — the same type of gun used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza — as a compromise.

At the opening day of the gun show, public opinion appeared equally split.

A few dozen members and supporters of Saratogians Against Gun Violence quietly held up cardboard cutout angels — 26 of them — in honor of the young students and educators gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Next to them, gun-rights activists — rowdier, but in equal mass — cheered on passing cars as they honked in support.

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