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State legislators unveil bill regulating gun shows at Del Mar Fairgrounds

SAN DIEGO -- A pair of San Diego area legislators Friday announced a bill to ban the sale of guns and ammunition at gun shows held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The bill introduced by Assembly members Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and Tasha Boerner-Horvath, D-Encinitas, would bar the state's 22nd District Agricultural District, which oversees operations at the fairgrounds, from authorizing the sale of guns and ammunition on fairgrounds property. The bill would take effect in 2021, should the Legislature pass it and Gov. Gavin Newsom put pen to paper.

"There is an ever apparent link between the gun violence we see virtually every week and the number of guns in our communities," Gloria said. "Additionally, the state of California should not be profiting or benefiting from the sale of firearms. This bill demonstrates that we value people over guns and public safety above all."

The fairgrounds' most popular gun show, the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, came under fire from local residents and gun control activists last year following instances of gun violence around the country. The 22nd DAA Board of Directors last September voted 8-1 to suspend the shows until concerns about improper gun and ammunition purchases could be ironed out. The fairgrounds held the last Crossroads of the West Gun Show on Dec. 8-9.

Newsom, then lieutenant governor, submitted a letter to the 22nd DAA prior to the vote calling for an end to the gun shows. The cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach have also passed resolutions calling for stricter gun control and an end to the fairgrounds' gun shows. Boerner-Horvath voted in favor of said resolution last March as a member of the Encinitas City Council.

"Today, I stand behind that position and alongside my colleague Assemblyman Todd Gloria, in full support of AB 893," Boerner-Horvath said. "This is a public safety issue and the state should not be in the business of facilitating the sale of guns and ammunition on our public lands."

Gloria and Boerner-Horvath held a news conference with Del Mar City Councilman Dwight Worden and Rose Ann Sharp of the gun control group Never Again CA to announce the bill.

"This concise, clear legislation goes to the heart of the issue: the state does not belong in the business of promoting and profiting from the proliferation of firearms and ammunition sold on state-owned property," Sharp said. "The state does belong in the business of making our communities safe."

Michael Schwartz, executive director of the San Diego County Gun Owners Political Action Committee, said the bill does not make sense. He said those behind the proposal are acknowledging gun shows are safe and legal by only focusing on gun shows held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

“They would have more of a reason if they were trying to make the case that this was some kind of illegal activity or unsafe, but if they tried to ban it across the entire state -- well, there are gun shows up the state of California and they would have to convince the local legislators to ban gun shows in their area and I don’t think they have the votes,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said there will be a fight against the bill.

“It’s definitely not a good idea to discriminate against a group of people that are practicing their civil rights,” Schwartz said.

Gloria's office expects the bill to head to Newsom's desk this fall if it passes the Legislature. The bill is currently pending referral to a committee.

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