Controversial gun show returns to Del Mar Fairgrounds

DEL MAR, Calif. -- The two-day Crossroads of the West Gun Show kicked off at the Del Mar Fairgrounds Saturday, the first gun show at the fairgrounds since last December.

The state's 22nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors, which oversees events at the fairgrounds, voted last September to suspend all future gun shows amid pressure from local residents and gun control activists. The fairgrounds hosted the last Crossroads of the West show Dec. 8 and 9 last year.

Assembly members Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and Tasha Boerner-Horvath, D-Encinitas, introduced legislation earlier this year to ban the sale of guns and ammunition on fairgrounds property, effectively ending all gun shows in Del Mar. The bill went to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk earlier this month but it has yet to receive a signature.

Gun rights groups like California Rifle and Pistol Association, the San Diego County Gun Owners political action committee and B&L Productions, which runs the Crossroads of the West gun show, have pushed back on the 22nd DAA's vote and the bill as unconstitutional. The CRPA filed a lawsuit against the state earlier this year over the DAA's vote.

A federal judge issued a preliminary injuction in the case in June, allowing gun shows to continue at the fairgrounds while the court considers the legality of the vote. The groups have said they plan to file suit over Gloria and Boerner-Horvath's bill as well if Newsom signs it into law.

"The legislation drafted by Todd Gloria to ban the gun show only at the fairgrounds in Del Mar has made it clear that they are not banning the gun show out of concern for safety or because there is illegal activity happening," SDCGO Executive Director Michael Schwartz said. "If they really thought gun shows were dangerous, they would not allow them in all the other state owned venues."

The gun show was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. each day. Protesters were expected to flock to the fairgrounds as well to voice their opposition.

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