The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 5, 2013

Some gun shows canceling after Conn. shooting

(Continued)

MANKATO —

In Houston, transportation officials temporarily stopped using electronic freeway signs to give directions to gun shows amid complaints following such a show the day after the Dec. 14 school shooting. State-level transportation officials overruled the decision. The signs are routinely used to direct traffic or tell visitors where to exit freeways for rodeos, sporting events and gun shows.

On Wednesday, the City Council here in Saratoga Springs urged organizers of a downtown gun show Jan. 12-13 not to display military-style weapons and the high-capacity magazines "of the type used in the Newtown tragedy." About a dozen people gave impassioned pleas at the meeting.

Show organizer David Petronis, of New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates, agreed to the limit.

"I don't think it's fair that we're taking the brunt of the problem," Petronis said, "but I can understand the reaction of people in doing so."

Petronis said his group is a "nice, clean family-oriented ... arms fair" that brings in thousands of visitors and a lot of money for the city. He stressed that buyers at his show undergo background checks, as per New York state law.

The gunman in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December used an AR-15 to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in the school. The gun belonged to the shooter's mother, but it's not clear where it was bought. The shooting has led to calls for stricter regulation of assault weapons, though the National Rifle Association has steadfastly opposed such measures.

Gun dealers around the country are reporting a spike in sales of semiautomatic rifles amid renewed talk of a federal ban on assault weapons. The possibility of tighter gun control has also pumped up attendance at gun shows in several states.

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