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Gun sellers take stock of new law

New York’s SAFE Act changing landscape for auctioneers, dealers

Randy Passonno, owner of Collar City Auctions and Management, Inc., in Delanson, said gun sales have been a significant part of his auctions during his 27 years of business. Recently, Collar City held an online-only auction from Feb. 9 to Feb. 23 that included more than 150 military and collector long arms and handguns, several of them are restricted under the state's new SAFE Act.

Randy Passonno, owner of Collar City Auctions and Management, Inc., in Delanson, said gun sales have been a significant part of his auctions during his 27 years of business. Recently, Collar City held an online-only auction from Feb. 9 to Feb. 23 that included more than 150 military and collector long arms and handguns, several of them are restricted under the state's new SAFE Act. Submitted Photo

— Other dealers, including Sandy Ackerman Klinger, are also assessing the future. Klinger runs several gun shows in New York through the New York State Arms Collectors Association and said she was happy the annual gun show at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany in January wasn’t affected by the new law. It drew in more than 5,000 people.

But when it comes to the path forward, Klinger is less enthusiastic. On her calendar is Syracuse’s largest gun show in April. Klinger, who took over her father’s business about eight years ago, is worried many of the gun sellers at her shows won’t fully understand the new regulations.

“It is hurting us. Even guys with a FFL (federal firearms license) are having a tough time trying to figure out what makes guns legal or illegal,” Klinger said.

Klinger said many of the dealers at her shows are 70 to 80 years old and spent their lives gaining knowledge on the trade. Some are getting out of the business rather than face criminal charges over a misunderstanding.

“There’s a man from New Jersey, 80-something years old, too worried he’ll bring the wrong thing,” Klinger said.

The Syracuse Gun Show, held from April 20 to 21, was planned to have 1,000 tables full of guns and already Klinger said vendors from other states have called up and canceled. She said she’s not worried about filling the spots, but the long-term is another matter.

“It hurts the gun guy with the shop, it hurts me as a promoter and the everyday guy going hunting with his son,” she said. “The good guys are being treated like bad guys. People just want to get out there and enjoy their hobby, their passion.”

Klinger added background checks are performed at Collectors Association shows. One new addition in April will be new signs at tables discussing the new SAFE Act.

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