A Southern California Democrat hopes Gov. Gavin Newsom will ban all guns and ammo sales on all state property, a move that would effectively end firearms shows at dozens of local fairs across the state. Newly-elected California State Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, introduced SB 264, which would prohibit a state employee or operator of “state-owned property, from contracting for, authorizing, or allowing the sale of any firearm or ammunition.” The bill makes an exception for gun buy-back programs. “The evidence is overwhelmingly clear — more guns lead to more violence,” the senator’s office said in a statement. “Gun violence splinters families and communities, and I am hopeful my colleagues will see taxpayers’ dollars have no place in funding the proliferation of gun sales and heartbreak.” Lawmaker says California taxpayers fund gun and ammo sales. Here’s how he would stop it: The legislation would make California the first state in the nation to prohibit gun shows at state-owned fairgrounds, and it sets the stage for yet another high-profile fight over gun regulations in a state that has over the years passed some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country, including some of the toughest regulations at gun shows. Min’s bill follows previous legislative efforts to prohibit gun shows at individual fairgrounds, including at the at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County and the Cow Palace in San Mateo County. Gun rights activists and conservative local government leaders are gearing up for a fight in the legislature and in the courts, should Min’s bill pass. Tehama County Supervisor Bob Williams said gun shows provide a critical source of money for struggling fairgrounds. “The fairgrounds are notoriously short of revenue every year just to try to stay in business. And to take one more thing away from them … seems rather ridiculous to me,” Williams said.
There’s no clearinghouse for how many fairs across the state host or have hosted gun shows, nor are there any official estimates for how much money gun shows generate for local fairs. The bill applies to the 52 District Agricultural Associations that have fairgrounds across California. State restrictions on crowd-sizes because of the COVID-19 pandemic have shuttered fairgrounds over the last year, making it even more difficult to come up with a tally. Meanwhile, one of the largest venues for gun shows, Cal Expo in Sacramento, hasn’t hosted a gun show at the state fairgrounds in at least three years, officials said. [full article]