CA Senate Approves Cow Palace Gun Show Ban
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Anti-gun senators in Sacramento on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban gun shows at the state-owned Cow Palace just outside of San Francisco.

Similar legislation has passed over the past couple of years, but was vetoed by then-Governor Jerry Brown. Current California governor Gavin Newsom, on the other hand, hasn’t vetoed any gun control legislation that’s gotten to his desk, and Sen. Scott Weiner, the bill’s primary sponsor, sounds confident that the bill will soon be signed into law.

“I am thrilled that SB 281 passed the Senate today,” Sen. Wiener said. “Its passage demonstrates the strong commitment to ending the epidemic of gun violence both in California and in our country. Children should not have to go to school in fear of a shooting. People should not have to be afraid of going to movie theaters, festivals, and other public places due to the prevalence of guns and mass shootings.”

“I authored SB 281 because it’s time we ban, once and for all, gun shows at the Cow Palace. The Cow Palace sits in the heart of the Bay Area, and there is a long-held consensus in the community that we must end these gun shows permanently. We can’t give into pressure from the NRA and the work they’re doing to reinstate the gun shows. That’s why we need to pass this permanent statutory ban on the Cow Palace gun shows. This is a great step towards that effort and I hope to see SB 281 pass the Assembly later this year.”

And how exactly do legal gun sales at a gun show at the Cow Palace differ from legal gun sales at a brick-and-mortar gun shop? Every sale of a firearm at a gun show in California is subject to the same laws that govern every other transfer of a firearm, including a 10-day waiting period and a background check. What Weiner is actually saying is that lawful sales of firearms are the problem. He’s just specifically targeting gun shows for now.

Can the government actually ban gun shows from state-owned property? Down in San Diego, a lawsuit is underway challenging a similar ban put in place at the Del-Mar Fairgrounds. As NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action points out, that ban has been blocked, at least temporarily, by a federal judge while litigation proceeds. If SB 281 does end up signed by Gov. Newsom, expect similar litigation to be filed against the Cow Palace gun show ban, but in the meantime, expect California lawmakers to continue to push bills targeting the state’s legal gun owners and not the growing number of violent criminals.