AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File
The anti-gun sentiment in California is so strong that gun shows are actively opposed. Nevermind that licensed gun dealers who man the majority of the booths at gun shows are required by federal law to conduct background checks, making them little different from a gun store. Anti-gunners don’t care. They want gun shows shut down completely.
The gun show in Del Mar was among the first victims of this hysteria.
The town turned on the gun show which had been a staple of the community for years. Anti-gunners wanted it banned, removed forever from their lives and screw anyone who disagreed.
Well, it seems among those who disagreed with them was the U.S. District Court.
A federal judge ruled that gun shows can continue at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, at least for now, as the court considers a lawsuit against a state agency’s decision to effectively suspend the shows, the California Rifle and Pistol Association announced Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo issued a preliminary injunction on Monday, ruling that the state must allow gun shows at the fairgrounds to continue while the court rules on the legality of the suspension. As such, gun shows like the Crossroads of the West will be allowed to reserve dates and hold shows at the fairgrounds for the first time since last December.
The state’s 22nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors, which oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds, voted last September to temporarily ban the sale of guns and ammunition at the fairgrounds until state legislators could iron out concerns about on-site purchases.
The vote effectively suspended gun shows at the fairgrounds after Jan. 1, prompting the CRPA to file suit against the state of California. The National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation are also supporting the CRPA in its grievance.
Gun control activist groups like Never Again California, a group of Del Mar residents and the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach called for an end to gun shows at the fairgrounds last year in response to mass shootings and instances of gun violence around the country.
And yet, we’re not seeing mass shooters get their guns at gun shows.
Of course, there’s no reason why some of them couldn’t. Most don’t seem to have anything in their backgrounds that would prevent them from buying a firearm lawfully until after they’ve committed their rampage. There’s no process that can be put in place at a gun show that would prevent that.
As it is, dealers that sell at these gun shows–the vast majority of gun sales at shows are dealer sales, by the way–are licensed dealers. They’re required by federal law to conduct NICS checks on all gun buyers. This is an established fact. Further, California requires universal background checks, so even those conducted at gun shows are required to have a check.
There’s nothing more that can be done, so why eliminate the show?
Oh, that answer is simple. If you eliminate the show, you reduce the chance that gun owners or those interested in guns will learn how many people there are like them in their community. The effort, in my opinion, is more about isolating gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, to make them feel alone. It’s hard to stigmatize someone into capitulation if they can find like-minded people, right?
That’s part of what makes the judge’s ruling so important. It means those folks can find one another much more easily. Yes, they can also buy guns as well, but gun shows are sometimes about more than the guns themselves.
Now, the question is whether or not the effort will somehow stand. I hope that when the dust settles, the new rules will be overturned and the show can continue as it has for years.
However, this is also California, so I’m not holding my breath.