Back in March, Saratoga Springs’ Mayor Meg Kelly spearheaded a historic vote that banned all future gun shows from the city. Taking place just under a month after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, the ban, of course, didn’t include this past weekend’s New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA) gun show, which took over the Saratoga Springs City Center from May 25-27.
Now, Mayor Kelly and other city council members have jointly announced that the Department of Public Safety would be hosting a gun buyback program on June 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Saratoga, per The Saratogian. People who wish to turn in any unwanted handguns or long guns can come to the Unitarian church on North Broadway between 9am and 3pm, and exchange them for a $100 gift card. All firearms should be unloaded and registered in the owner’s name. Anyone wishing to dispose of a weapon will have to fill out a form so police can check the weapon’s history. The gun owner will then receive his or her gift card after the gun has been inspected by a Saratoga County police officer. “We believe that if people are given a safe way to deposit their firearms, they don’t mind. It’ll help all citizens in our area. It might prevent needless accidents, injuries and tragedies,” said Mayor Kelly. This coming weekend’s buyback program was not only timed to coincide with the NEACA’s last appearance at the City Center, but also National Gun Violence Awareness Day (June 1).
For many, however, the end of the NEACA gun show, which has been coming to Saratoga’s City Center since 1984, is the end of an era. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction,” David Petronis, organizer and President of NEACA, told ABC’s local affiliate. Petronis feels the new measure is an infringement on his and other gun owners’ rights. Saratoga’s buyback is also not an amnesty program. In other words, if you turn over an illegally obtained firearm, there could be legal ramifications.