Gun Show Returns To CA Fairgrounds, But Future In Doubt

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

For the first time in over a year the Orange County Fairgrounds in southern California hosted a gun show this past weekend. The Crossroads of the West show has been held in Orange County for more than two decades, and there are usually a couple of shows each year, but thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus closures, the last show took place in January of 2020.

If one anti-gun lawmaker has his way, however, last weekend’s show could be the last in Orange County. Freshman state Senator Dave Min has introduced a bill that would not only ban gun shows from the Orange County Fairgrounds, but is designed to put a stop to all gun shows in the state.

“SB 264 will effectively end the ‘gun show loophole’ and eliminate the sale of ghost guns, straw party sales, gun thefts from careless vendors and other unlicensed conveyances of firearms that all too often occur at gun shows,” Senator Min said late last month. “It also signals decisively that the state of California will not lend its endorsement to the proliferation of more guns into our communities, which are already plagued with gun violence. When kids across the state, including my three children, return to in-person instruction later this year, they’ll once again have to go through the terror of active shooter drills. That’s just wrong.”

“Our county fairgrounds are supposed to be family-friendly venues, long associated with wholesome events like county fairs, 4-H events, rodeos and music festivals. But instead, in recent years, they’ve become most well-known for gun shows. That needs to change, and this bill would accomplish that change. While the Second Amendment allows for the well- regulated sales and purchase of firearms, it does not require that taxpayer-owned properties be used to facilitate those transactions.”

While there have been previously passed bills that banned specific gun shows, such as AB 893, which was passed in 2019 that ended a gun show at Del Mar Fairgrounds, there has yet to be a bill for a total state property sale ban.

There is no “gun show loophole” in California law, despite what Min claims. California has universal background checks, so even private transfers of firearms are supposed to go through a background check and are subject to the state’s ten-day waiting period. In other words, nobody’s buying a gun at a gun show in Orange County or anywhere else in the state and walking out with it the same day.

The attack on gun shows isn’t about public safety, but about trying to crack down on the Second Amendment community in California. Gun shows are just as family friendly as a rodeo or county fair, but that’s not how Min sees it. Instead, he views thousands of gun owners and Second Amendment supporters gathering together as a dangerous thing. As California Rifle & Pistol Association general counsel and president Chuck Michel wrote last year:

To a gun ban lobby reinvigorated through millions in funding from billionaires, gun shows are part of the evil “gun culture” that must be eradicated. Banning gun shows is a way to attack the “gun culture” by taking away a place where gun owners gather and exchange ideas, plan politics, learn the law, and discover the joys of shooting sports and the social utility of guns for self-defense. Some people just don’t like guns, and apparently have never been to a gun show like Crossroads of the West. Instead, they would rather imagine it — and spin it to others — as a gun-slinging redneck convention where gang members and drug dealers shop.

Thanks to a sophisticated multimillion-dollar PR campaign of shame meant to demonize the “gun culture” and ostracize those who choose to own a gun for sport or to defend their families, thoughtful policy decision making has been replaced by political showmanship fueled by false sound bites. The gun ban lobby pushes useless laws that don’t work. We hate guns, so just do something. Anything.

With an anti-gun supermajority in the legislature, Min’s bill faces little opposition, at least in Sacramento. Earlier this month SB 264 passed out of the Senate Public Safety Committee on a 4-1 vote, and could soon head to the Senate floor. If the bill does get to Gavin Newsom’s desk, the governor is almost certain to sign it, but expect a legal fight over the ban if that happens. A similar ban specifically targeting the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego is supposed to take effect next year, and Crossroads of the West have already vowed to fight the ban in court once it goes into effect.

Rather than focus on violent criminals, California lawmakers are once again targeting legal gun owners (as well as their First and Second Amendment rights). Banning gun shows in the state won’t do a thing to reduce violent crime. It’s just the latest attack on those who dare to exercise their right to keep and bear arms in a state that wants to erase the Second Amendment from our Constitution.

 

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