April 26, 2012

Hello NEACA Members & Exhibitors,


I remember when it was a pleasure receiving mail, like you when you open one of my informational letters such as this. Seems now though that one wonders what stupidity or irritant sits in your mailbox today.

Well, my personal annoyance came yesterday when I opened my notice from the NYS Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman through his Rochester office. His letter outlined how NY State Gun Shows will operate in the future and how all exhibitors will be treated at these shows. Basically like school kids on the playground. Before I get to your impending irritant let me remind you all about the previous Gun Show problems.

You all remember the AG undercover "sting" and announcement of how they arrested ten dealers for buying or selling guns without proper NICS checks, that was back in November when we were notified of the effect. A November 30, 2011 letter informed me along with three other show promoters how we allowed illegal activity at our shows and a subpoena was issued for us to stop this. Of course, nothing happened to the "illegal dealers," private citizens selling guns to undercover agents, probably on the way into our shows from the parking lot. But we all got cease and desist letters.

Lawyers were arranged through the NYSR&PA and NRA through a phone conference but no monetary help was given and no arrangement was made to treat this accusation as a group event, as I wished to do. So individually, each promoter had to choose what to do; I elected to go it alone without their arranged lawyers. Smart or stupid, good or bad, that was my decision; after all, I had done no wrong. You all know how I run my shows; properly, conscientiously, in good manner and lawfully.

Now, the AG has given us promoters two choices. And, I assume these same options will control whatever other events having over 50 guns (the pre-requisite of a Gun Show) and the operators of these events. Their latest letter begins with the consideration of a resolution to their investigation. It reads:

"One option is to proceed with taking your statement under oath and continuing with the collection of documents, some of which you have provided. The other option is to resolve this by having you agree to the entry of a consent Order and Judgment."

The best part is their draft of, "The Petition referred to in the Consent." I am asked to contact them to discuss the next step. I have been working with a pleasant lady, an Assistant AG in charge of the Rochester Regional Office and have had good conversations with her. I assume this "Consent Order and Judgment" from the People of New York by AG Schneiderman is directly from him and she is the clean-up person.

Let me say this, the "option to proceed with taking (my) statement under oath" is far more appealing than admitting wrong doing and having to sign a judgment, paying a $10,000 fine plus $2,000 in statutory costs within 30 days. And when I would do that, you really don’t want to participate in the rest! I just wrote a short article to go along with my prior Sunday Gazette story penned at the first of this year. Both are available at Dave’s World page on NEACA.com. You all should read the whole story – but lacking the tid-bits about help not being available immediately from the supposed gun rights protectors.

Yes, I am alone and I am sticking out my neck for Gun Shows in NY State and all of you who wish to participate in them. You can help me now, monetarily and supportively, by renting as many full price tables you can afford – plus a little bit more you can’t – at our next NEACA Gun and Sportsman’s Show at the SportsPlex of Halfmoon, Clifton Park, NY. Flier is enclosed and together we can make this HUGE and profitable. I will get the people; you need to get yourself and your buddies to participate now! You may not be able to afford NOT TO DO IT!

If they get their way, this is what is in store for you as participants in NY State Shows. Naturally, we can all live with extra signs I have to post and the "For Sale/Sold" tags I produced to satisfy the AG’s initial requests. I went along as far as I can go. To meet some other requirements I may have to increase table rent. I will require a new person to hand out a full sheet of paper signage to each and every participant entering the show. I will need to post signs outside and hire someone to oversee the entire area and someone else to patrol the entire area every 30 minutes. This is so no one can be accosted by undercover agents. You will bear the cost.

After unloading and before loading, ALL participants in this show will only go through ONE door while show is open. Guards must be posted at any and all entrances and check all gun tags for NICS checks. You, my friends, will bear the cost. Unlike common knowledge, us show promoters have not become rich on gun show profits; we barely make a living while working many hours, continuously and with our heads six months to a year in the future. None of us live for today, we are all thinking about September already. Where did the summer go? Try it sometime!

I have eleven pages of legalese jargon to digest fully but so far, it doesn’t look appealing for the continuation of Gun Shows in NY State. Is that the whole intent of "Eric’s Law?" Incidentally, if you are not a FFL holder, YOU need to register all of your guns with the promoter and I must keep that list for five years, open for inspection. Sounds a bit unconstitutional, but who am I to question the Powers of the AG. You might, however, have thought the protectors of our gun rights might have caught this in the bud.

To continue, all advertising, meaning even the small ads put in myriads of newspapers under classified sections must have an additional "New State Law requires – etc." a fifty three word statement of law; this will increase our advertising by triple or more and have no benefit to the show, but mandated expense to promoters. Exhibitors and attendees will have to pay for it through increased rent or admissions; I definitely do not want to needlessly raise either.

That 8 ½" X 11" sheet of paper stating "Eric’s Law" can’t just be printed in the thousands and used at all the shows; why? Each show also has to include the name and location of at least three dealers who can perform a NICS check. You will pay for it, again!

A promoter must ensure that "private sellers" legally transfer ownership of guns and record all guns on entry. You, as "a private seller", exhibitors are included. But the AG has a note to that; "Note that there is no requirement that the operator allow private seller to bring guns into the gun show and it is the preferred practice that private sales be prohibited at gun shows."

Isn’t that grand? The whole premise of the original gun show and the creation of NEACA, Inc. or New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates is that we, as private or business parties, could get together, enjoy camaraderie and enhance our own collections or dispense with items we no longer wanted. That was and still is what gun shows are! We, all of us, cannot allow the NYS Attorney General to single us out as collectors and licensed dealers into second or third class citizens or school yard children. Bullying isn’t allowed at school and will not be allowed by Eric Schneiderman!

I will continue the fight, but my God, it is time for you to get off your asses and support me in this effort. After thirty years of doing good things for all of you, I need a little help from all of you NOW. If I fall, everybody could fall. Think long and hard about the future of gun shows and where you fit into the picture. Send me your support by sending me your applications. And don’t forget to call or write to your State Senator and State Assemblymen. They are the ones who are supposed to write the laws and when they are misinterpreted as they are now, as the beginning of closing down NYS Gun shows and beginning a registration system of guns and their owners, it is time to stop and weigh in.

God bless you all and I hope I can count on your support.

David Petronis, Pres. NEACA, Inc.