Posted at: 01/25/2013 4:24 PM
Updated at: 01/25/2013 5:43 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
ALBANY--Gun dealers spent Friday in the depths of the State Capitol Complex setting up for a 450 table event that typically draws thousands of people. Even more attendees are expected this year due to imminent gun law changes in New York and federally.
"I don't think the state should sanction gun shows or they should be on state property," believes Pat Higgins, a state worker from Rensselaer.
But because the show, run by the New York State Arms Collectors Association, is on taxpayer property in Albany, organizers must abide by different rules than many other shows throughout the state. Specifically, a city ban on assault weapons.
"There are people who do it (own guns) for a hobby and I don't think we should stop them. But we don't need weapons that can kill in mass numbers," explains Skip Cark, an Albany resident visiting the Empire State Plaza with his grandchildren on Friday as the show promoters were setting up.
Every gun inside the ESP Convention Center must be locked. And, each weapon that's approved for sale after a background check will be tagged so, upon exiting, the show operators know the check was performed. Plus, there is only one way out, and it's monitored, to help prevent back door deals and illegal sales. And, new this year, you'll find signs everywhere giving written notice to all dealers that background checks must be completed before the transfer of a gun.
"Nothing is really changing on our end--we run a pretty tight show already," says Marc Loveland of the NYS Arms Collectors Association.
Thus far there hasn't been the public opposition and back-lash against the Albany event that a Saratoga gun show experienced earlier this month. Prior to the January 12th and 13th event there were petitions circulating to prevent the show from going on and protestors demonstrated outside the Saratoga Civic center during the event.
Loveland says he and the other Albany organizers are proud of their long-standing relationship with New York State and the agreement on new protection policies.
"Our show has a lot of respect throughout the area. We've been here 30 plus years so obviously we're doing something right...our Second Amendment allows us the right to bear arms and as long as you are in good mental health, I don't see any problems with that."
The New York State Arms Collectors show runs Saturday 9a-5p and Sunday 9a-3p at the Convention Center at the Empire State Plaza.