The controversy surrounding the upcoming New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates gun show at Clinton Arena is over. The show has been cancelled.

However, it was the show's organizer - Dave Petronis - who pulled the plug. As first reported by the Utica Observer Dispatch, concerns over security led Kirkland officials to question whether Petronis had security for the three day show - which had been originally scheduled for early June. When it appeared he didn't, and was told he'd have to pay $8,300 for town police officers to provide security at the Clinton Arena.

The gun show originally was slated for June 8-10, but New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates agreed to move it to July to accommodate a request by the school system because of SAT classes scheduled for the same weekend.

Along with the date change, the town wanted to know what security measures Petronis planned on implementing. Meelan said Petronis did not have an answer when asked recently, so the town developed its own plan, which had two town police officers — one inside and one outside the arena — standing guard 24/7.

''Let them foot the bill,'' Petronis told WIBX Friday morning. ''They have every right to freedom of speech, but if they wanna show up and protest, why do I have to pay the bill [for security]?'' Petronis asked, adding ''...I'm a legitimate, legal business.''

Petronis said the history of gun shows in Clinton dates back at least two decades, but said, ''...if they don't wanna have us up there, then we don't wanna go.''

Petronis is scheduled to join Keeler in the Morning on WIBX Monday morning.

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