No more Del Mar gun sales shows for you

Inside the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Sept. 29. 2019/KPBS

The California Assembly voted Thursday, April 25 to ban gun and ammunition sales at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County, one of two legislative efforts to ban gun shows on state property.

Assembly members Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and Tasha Boerner-Horvath, D-Encinitas, introduced the bill in February. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, added her name as a co-author earlier this month.

The bill would ban the state’s 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees operations at the fairgrounds, from approving sales of guns and ammunition on fairgrounds property. The bill would take effect in 2021 if the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom also support it.

Gloria’s office expects the state Senate to scheduled committee hearings on the bill in the coming weeks, according to City News Service. Newsom has yet to publicly announce his support of the bill, but did submit a letter to the 22nd DAA last year calling on the board to end gun shows at the fairgrounds.

Gloria’s office expects the bill to head to Newsom’s desk some time this fall if it stays on its current trajectory.

The cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach, all near the Del Mar fairgrounds, have passed resolutions calling for an end to the show, according to NBC San Diego.

The bill passed the Assembly on a vote of 48 to 16. No lawmakers spoke against it.

“With this bill, we are demonstrating that we value people over guns and are putting public safety first,” Gloria said in a statement. “The communities around the Del Mar Fairgrounds have been clear: they do not want these gun shows taking place on this state-owned land.”

Gloria and Boerner-Horvath penned the bill after Del Mar residents, gun control activists and the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach called for an end to the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, the fairgrounds’ most popular gun show, in the wake of instances of gun violence around the country.

The 22nd DAA Board of Directors voted 8-1 last September to suspend gun shows at the fairgrounds until loopholes and concerns regarding the sale of guns and ammunition could be assuaged. The fairgrounds has not hosted a Crossroads of the West Gun Show since Dec. 8-9, 2019.

“The state of California shouldn’t be in the business of using our public land to join with the firearms industry to profit off the sale of guns and ammo,” Gonzalez said.

The National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of California and the California Rifle and Pistol Association have all opposed the bill through committee hearings and today’s vote.

Another effort to ban sales at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and San Mateo counties has not yet come for a vote in the full Senate.

Both fairgrounds are owned by the state and managed by agricultural associations. The boards that run both fairgrounds have already voted to ban or delay the annual Crossroads of the West Gun Show, and the state bills would make those bans permanent.

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