By Andrew Khouri
3:48 PM PST, January 4, 2013
In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, Connecticut towns are grappling with whether to allow gun shows to be held as scheduled, with several events already having been canceled while one show is still set for this weekend.
A gun show originally scheduled for Jan. 12-13 in Waterbury was canceled after the police chief refused to issue a permit, saying the show would be insensitive to the victims of the school massacre. Another gun show -- one that had been scheduled for this weekend in Danbury, the site of a hospital where three victims were sent -- also has been canceled.
In the Danbury case, promoter Big Al's Gun Shows declined to comment, other than to say that the venue, a hotel in town, had pulled out.
In the Waterbury case, Police Chief Michael J. Gugliotti said Friday he refused the show's permit on Dec. 15 -- one day after a gunman slaughtered 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, about 20 miles away.
“I just thought the timing would be awful,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I made my decision out of respect for the 26 victims and their families.”
Gugliotti said he also worried that a gun purchased at the Waterbury show could be used in a mass killing.
A call seeking comment from Westchester Collectors Inc., which was promoting the Waterbury event, was not immediately returned. The company's website, however, makes clear that "all federal and Connecticut laws and regulations will be followed" at its shows there.
Gugliotti said he planned to hold meetings with city officials to establish a gun show policy for the future.
One Westchester Collectors' show, however, will go on as planned this Saturday and Sunday in Stamford, about 40 miles from Newtown.
Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that the city tried to convince the promoter and the local venue, a hotel, to postpone the event, but they responded that they were fully committed and rescheduling would be too difficult.
“An event like that seems to be insensitive at this time,” Pavia said.
Westchester Collectors planned to hold two more gun shows this year in Waterbury, but its website says those shows were “tentative.”
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