KIRKLAND- At Monday night's board meeting in Kirkland, several people showed up to voice their concerns over having the gun show at the Clinton Arena, after some alleged "racist" and "hateful" posts on the organizer's website.
New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates, run by Dave Petronis, is the organizing comany's website. According to people at the meeting, there were things posted under the blog section that were allegedly racist and hateful.
Those opposed, voiced their concerns saying having the gun show at the arena sends a bad message and doesn't make the village of Clinton look good.
The attorney for the town board addressed the issue saying, everyone has a right to freedom of speech. He also said, he and the board have to look at all the facts and laws before coming to a decision.
Clinton High School students were among many of the people who were expressing their concerns. "Yes, Mr. Petronis has the right to hold a gun show at the Clinton Arena, but we as a community don't have to embrace the racist and hateful speech that he so publicly broadcasted on his blog," said Libby Militello, Senior Class President at Clinton High School.
Another Clinton High School Student, Georgia Zoller, told NEWSChannel 2 some of the things Petronis allegedly said. "He talked about how racial affairs should not be allowed, and how African Americans should go back to Africa," said Zoller.
Councilmembers sat and listened to the arguments made by both sides. Councilmember Garry Colarusso said they've heard from all party's and will make a decision based on facts. "We have time to make that decision. We want to make a right decision and we want to make sure that it's based on facts." He also said, "there was a lot of emotion in the room and we don't make our decisions based on emotions, we make them based on laws and what we feel is the right thing to do."
Colarusso said the board will have an answer at either their April 25, or May 14 meeting.