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Connecticut mayor pleads with gun show organizers to reschedule

A sign is posted for an upcoming gun show, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, in Leesport, Pa. Gun advocates aren‘t backing down from their insistence on the right to keep and bear arms. But heightened sensitivities and raw nerves since the Newtown, Conn. shooting are softening displays at gun shows and even leading officials and sponsors to cancel the popular exhibitions altogether.

Matt Rourke/AP

A gun show is being held this weekend in Stamford, Connecticut, despite the mayor's plea that the event not be held so soon after last month's massacre at an elementary school in nearby Newtown.

The gun show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at the city's Crowne Plaza Hotel, less than 80 kilometres from the shooting that brought renewed calls for gun control from across the country. The show's promoter is Westchester Collectors Inc., of Mahopac Falls, New York.

On Dec. 14, 2012, Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle, killed 20 first graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

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Mr. Lanza's father, Peter Lanza, lives in Stamford. His ex-wife, Nancy, lived in Newtown with their son Adam, who killed her before driving to the school to carry out the other killings.

On Friday, Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia, a Republican, released a statement asking the organizers to reconsider holding the event this weekend.

"In light of the recent tragic events in Newtown, as a community, we are sensitive to the emotions and feelings of all of those who have suffered losses and are still grieving," Mr. Pavia said in the statement.

"Holding such an event - at this time, and in such close proximity to the Newtown, seems untimely and insensitive," Mr. Pavia said.

A recorded message for callers who dial Westchester Collector's phone number says its East Coast Fine Arms Show will to go on as scheduled in Stamford this weekend.

Since the Newtown shooting, other Connecticut communities have taken gun shows off their calendars. In the nearby city of Danbury, the Danbury Gun and Knife Show also had been scheduled for Jan. 5-6. It has been cancelled, according to the website of the promoter, Big Al's Silver Bullet Productions.

In Waterbury, Police Chief Michael Gugliotti imposed a moratorium on gun shows the day after the Newtown killings. He said he's concerned a gun used in a future mass shooting could be traced to a purchase made at a gun show in his city.

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Westchester Collectors had planned a firearm and knife show for Waterbury on Jan. 12-13.

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