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Saratoga County

Weekend gun show sees record attendance

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Albany/HV: Weekend gun show sees record attendance
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The numbers are in. Thousands attended this weekend's gun show in Saratoga from as far away as Ohio and as close as next door. All are central to the ongoing debate about guns. Our Erin Vannella reports.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- "I was so busy I couldn't get out to see anything to be perfectly honest with you," said event organizer David Petronis.

The 30th annual Saratoga Springs Arms Fest went off without incident but not without making history.

"Elbow to elbow the line was probably an eighth of a mile long," said Petronis. "It went from the inside ticket booth to the Olde Bryan Inn."

It doubled the biggest crowd to date and the majority, organizers say, weren't there to protest, but to show support.

"I had people send envoys up in line saying, listen come down and collect money from us," said Petronis. "I don't care if we get in the show I just want to donate and do things for you and maybe we'll come back tomorrow or next month."

But not everyone was so enthusiastic.

"Most of what I saw didn't represent anything that was particularly dangerous," said Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen. "The part of the day that was unsettling to me was the attitude of some of the protesters in front of the City Center."

No major incident was reported, however. Perhaps that was in part because of an active police force. But the outside groups did represent the diverse opinions present. Some supported the show. Some supported the city's request not to display assault type weapons. Still others wished the gun show hadn't shown. Spa City leaders suggested it was something to learn from.

"If there is another gun show and people have the opportunity to at least go see it and have a sense of what goes on there, maybe then they would have an idea of whether they'd want something like this in our community," said Mathiesen.

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