STAMFORD, Conn. – More than 1,000 enthusiasts of antique guns and other vintage weapons attended the East Coast Fine Arms show at the Stamford Plaza on Saturday, with the show continuing Sunday from 10 a.m to 3 p.m.
Newman Chittenden, who runs the show for Weston Collectors, said it was held with permission of the Stamford Police Department, which issued a permit. He was unable to get a permit from the Waterbury police and canceled a show there that was scheduled for next week. He said three shows have been canceled since the Newtown shootings, but he wouldn’t identify the others.
“Newtown was horrendous, but it has nothing to do with me,” he said.
There were security measures at the show. “We put ties through the action of any guns people carry into the show, and dealers have their own ties,” Chittenden said. “It’s highly regulated, the most regulated event there is.”
John Fucci, one of the dealers, from East Meadow, N.Y., was showing Kentucky rifles from 1820-1860. “Most people hang them on the fireplace. A very small percentage of collectors actually fire them,” he said. “The old guns used black powder, and modern gunpowder can’t be used.”
Fucci was selling the Kentucky rifles for about $2,000. He said antique rifles can sell for as high as $30,000, based on the maker, the incision carving and the patch décor.
John Hanson, from East Hampton, who attended the show, said, “These guns are American art. Everyone in Connecticut is shocked and appalled at what happened in Newtown, but we’re responsible Americans.”
Hanson, 79, said he used to carry his guns to school in the late 1940s and ’50s and put them in his locker. “The culture has changed,” he said.