STAMFORD,CT(CBSNewYork) — Controversy erupted on Saturday over a gun show that was held less than 50-miles away from the site of a December 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
An array of antique rifles, dueling pistols, and recently manufactured shotguns were displayed on more than two-hundred tables at Stamford’s Plaza Hotel. Collectors and protestors came face to face at the event that Stamford officials pleaded with organizers to postpone.
Organizers told CBS 2′s Dave Carlin that the “East Coast Fine Arms Show” was about collectibles.
“We really do want the people outside to understand these are collectors of history, of artistry, and people from all walks of life,” said Antique Arms Dealer, Dave Kleiner.
“It could have been cancelled, it should have been cancelled,” said Andrea Sferes.
The demonstrators outside of the Plaza Hotel told CBS 2 that less than a month after the Newtown shootings, the gun show hit too close to home. A newspaper ad for the event, that appeared on the same page as an article about Sandy Hook Elementary School students, did not help to ease tensions.
“The way it was in the paper really upset me and it’s not even a month since it happened,” said Linda Ferguson-Clapp.
Gun shows in Danbury and Waterbury were cancelled in the wake of the Newtown massacre, but organizers refused to postpone the Stamford show.
“I would say they are barking up the wrong tree. What happened at that school is a problem with people and their state of mind, it’s not the item, and not the guns,” said Antique Arms Dealer Stuart English.
English and other dealers told CBS that every buyer gets a background check, the show will continue on Sunday.
Is it too soon to hold an event like this, or should the show go on? Let us know in our comments section below…