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Pro-gun protest outside Gun Show in Saratoga Springs, 1/12/2013. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/imaphotog/">imaphotog</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
Pro-gun protest outside Gun Show in Saratoga Springs, 1/12/2013. Photo: imaphotog, CC some rights reserved

Saratoga gun show a flashpoint in weapons ban debate

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Vice President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a comprehensive package of gun control recommendations to President Barack Obama tomorrow. According to The Associated Press, Senators plan to introduce a bill that would ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition magazines, but the head of the National Rifle Association and at least one senator say Congress is unlikely to pass it.

The measures come in the wake of the school shooting in Connecticut that killed 27 people. They're part of a renewed consideration, nationwide, of gun control regulations.

Roughly 200 protesters turned up over the weekend at a gun show in Saratoga Springs that became a flash point in the debate.

The show on Saturday at the Saratoga City Center has gone on for three decades, but it drew new publicity after the school shooting in Newtown.

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Jay Curtis, a National Rifle Association member from nearby Galway, says the gun show became a rallying point for gun rights activists: "Well, it is a lot more than a gun show, there's people here that do believe that they do have a 2nd Amendment right, and there's people here who believe that right should be infringed, which is exactly the opposite of what the Constitution says."

Pro-gun control groups including MoveOn.org also rallied at Saturday's show. Charles Samuels is an organizer of a new group called the Saratoga Peace Alliance.

He says the Newtown shooting sparked new momentum for gun control laws. "We have been exposed to how easy it is to acquire weapons of mass death. And this, time is on our side, we're in the middle of a change right now."

Saratoga's city council already demanded one change this year, asking gun show organizer David Petronis to restrict the display and sale of assault-style weapons.

Petronis said over the weekend that he was angered by all the attention. "It's people like you in the media, they're keeping it going! This woman who started this petition, what she should have done is shut up, to be perfectly honest with you, and then all the media wouldn't have been here!"

The Obama administration is considering new firearm rules in Washington. And Governor Andrew Cuomo also used his state of the state address to call for tighter restrictions in New York.

Reporter Jon Alexander contributed to this story, courtesy of the Glens Falls Post Star. Find more of his reporting at poststar.com.

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