Michael Gugliotti, chief of police in Waterbury, Conn., decided to stop issuing gun show permits on the day after the nearby Newtown massacre.
“I was just sitting home, really just thinking about what I need to do as a police chief during this type of crisis to ensure that our citizens are feeling safe and comfortable,” Gugliotti told TPM on Friday.
It happened that the day before, one of his aides had a scheduled meeting with a representative of Westchester Collectors Inc., which wanted to hold a firearm and knife show in Waterbury on Jan. 12 and 13. (According to The American-Republican newspaper, the company planned to hold the show at the convention center of the CoCo Key Water Resort Hotel on East Main Street.) Waterbury, a city of 110,000, is about 20 miles northeast of Newtown.
“Out of respect and honor for those 26 folks that lost their life in Newtown, I made the decision then and there to send the promoter a message that I would not be signing any permit for any gun show until further notice,” Gugliotti said.
Gugliotti, who insisted his decision was “not about any gun control view that I have,” said that he still feels the way he did when he made the decision, but he acknowledged that the long-term decision will have to be made by the broader community in Connecticut’s fifth largest city.
So far, Gugliotti said, his decision has been met with mixed reactions.
“It’s really 50/50,” Gugliotti said. “There are people that don’t understand why I made the decision that I made, and there are people that support it.”
The Connecticut Post reported on Thursday that a number of guns shows scheduled in Connecticut were canceled after last month’s incident, but that a Westchester Collectors’ show scheduled for this weekend in Stamford, Conn. was still on.
Westchester Collectors did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TPM.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com