Who Will Pay for Gun Show Security & Traffic Control?
That was one of the questions posed by resident Frank McCarron at the February 9, 2022, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting.
“I would ... like to talk about the size of the show and what it means in terms of traffic and safety," said Mr. McCarron. "The advertisement for the gun show … indicates that there will be 350 display tables at this show. I don't know how many people work at each table but if it's one person per table that would mean 350 people working at the show. That begs the question: does the township know what size crowd that would bring? For example, does an event like this average 10 persons per table, which would mean 3,500 people coming to the show?
“I believe the residents of the township have a right to know what is the township’s protocol in general and what it will do here in particular in terms of traffic and safety when a large event is being held in the township … as well as who bears that cost,” said Mr. McCarron. View his comments in the video clip below.
Meanwhile, another resident hurled insults
After Mr. McCarron spoke, resident John D'Aprile stepped up to the podium and began by insulting Mr. McCarron, referring to him and other critics of the gun show as "cry babies."
Something must be done to reign in residents like Mr. D'Aprile who insult other residents and disrupt what otherwise would be civilized discourse. Perhaps the BOS needs to issue a resolution outlining "Ethics, Rules of Procedure, and Standards of Conduct for Citizens Attending and Commenting at Board of Supervisors Meetings."
See Resolution 2017-R-21, which focuses on the proper conduct of BOS members. This could be a model for a similar resolution for resident commenters.
Some History Regarding NAC & Show Expenses
At the January 26, 2022, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) public meeting, one resident brought up the issue of $20,000 in expenses incurred by the township at another NAC event: a 2017 Trump rally. Supervisors discussed this at the March 8, 2017, BOS meeting.
|Excerpt from March 8, 2017 BOS Minutes|
|Mrs. Dix [a Newtown Supervisor at that time] said that she has spoken to Jim Worthington, asking his help in getting a reimbursement for police expenses from the Trump Campaign. She also wondered whether there is some way to address this in the future, perhaps by having some kind of permit requirement with escrow for expenses.
Mr. Ferguson [Township Manager at that time] confirmed that while the Township does require permits for events and parades, these are usually planned well in advance and Township staff meets with event planners to review their security needs. The campaign appearances and rallies have been planned on only a few days notice; the recent Trump rally was planned on less than 24 hours-notice.
Mr. Garton [Township Solicitor at that time] suggested researching how larger nearby municipalities handle this type of events. He noted that the City of Philadelphia has major events like political rallies more often than the smaller municipalities and might already have permitting procedures in place. Newtown could probably learn from the cities' methods for covering costs and planning safety and security measures for these last minute events.
The gun show is on hold (postponed) until Mr. Worthington appeals the Notice of Violation issued by the township and when (if) he wins that appeal. In the meantime, I think the township should follw the recommendations made by its solicitor in 2017 and plan to have staff meet with Mr, Worthington and the show's producers to determine the security and traffic control needs for this event and who will pay for that service.