SACRAMENTO — The Assembly voted 48-16 Thursday in favor of a bill co- authored by three San Diego County legislators that will ban gun and ammunition sales at gun shows held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
The bill would ban the state’s 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees operations at the fairgrounds, from approving sales of guns and ammunition on fairgrounds property. The bill would take effect in 2021 if the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom also support it.
Assembly members Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and Tasha Boerner-Horvath, D-Encinitas, introduced the bill in February. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D- San Diego, added her name as a co-author earlier this month.
“The communities around the Del Mar Fairgrounds have been clear: they do not want these gun shows taking place on this state-owned land,” Gloria said. “With this bill, we are demonstrating that we value people over guns and are putting public safety first.”
Gloria and Boerner-Horvath penned the bill after Del Mar residents, gun control activists and the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach called for an end to the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, the fairgrounds’ most popular gun show, in the wake of instances of gun violence around the country.
The 22nd DAA Board of Directors voted 8-1 last September to suspend gun shows at the fairgrounds until loopholes and concerns regarding the sale of guns and ammunition could be assuaged. The fairgrounds has not hosted a Crossroads of the West Gun Show since Dec. 8-9, 2019.
“The state of California shouldn’t be in the business of using our public land to join with the firearms industry to profit off the sale of guns and ammo,” Gonzalez said.
The National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of California and the California Rifle and Pistol Association have all opposed the bill through committee hearings and Thursday’s vote.
Chuck Michel, the president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said in a San Diego Union-Tribune opinion piece earlier this month that Gloria was mischaracterizing the gun show and its patrons as a “redneck convention.”
“By banning gun shows, Mr. Gloria is trying to take away a place where law-abiding gun owners gather and exchange ideas, plan politics, learn the law and discover the joys of shooting sports and the social benefits of firearms owned for self-defense,” Michel wrote.
Gloria’s office expects the state Senate to scheduled committee hearings on the bill in the coming weeks. Newsom has yet to publicly announce his support of the bill, but did submit a letter to the 22nd DAA last year calling on the board to end gun shows at the fairgrounds.
Gloria’s office expects the bill to head to Newsom’s desk some time this fall if it stays on its current trajectory.