Dozens of people are voicing passionate opinions on whether a gun show should continue to be held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. And now, state officials are getting into the discussion.
The Crossroads of the West Gun Show has been held at the fairgrounds since 1988, according to its director. Currently, it’s held there five times a year. By some accounts, the show brings in an annual revenue of close to $500,000.
But in light of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, those against the show are speaking out and saying the show glorifies a gun culture.
“They may be law abiding, but we are dumping guns into our community and they’re making it easier by having the glorification of guns and introducing them to younger and younger people,” said Rose Ann Sharp with NeverAgainCA.org.
Sharp was one of the dozens of people who spoke during a public comment session at the monthly board meeting of the 22nd Annual Agricultural Association. It’s the state agency that runs the fairgrounds. No action could be taken because the item was not on the agenda, but board members listened to comment for more than three hours from both sides.
“You’re never on the right side of history when you take a group of people who are exercising their civil rights, labeling them undesirable and trying to ban them by force of government,” said Michael Schwartz with the group San Diego County Gun Owners.
Among the group of speakers was several students.
“Gun shows glorify gun culture, especially to impressionable young minds. This isn't right, things need to change in a big way,” said one student.
“Children across this country are telling us they're afraid, they are afraid of guns and they are afraid of the gun culture,” said a woman who identified herself as a mother.
But others voiced a different opinion.
“It's just a knee-jerk reaction to the horrible incidences that have happened in other parts of our country,” said a man in favor of the gun show.
Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor says he supports banning the gun shows at the Fairgrounds.
State Assemblyman Todd Gloria said he was prepared to introduce legislation that would ban all gun shows from the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Board members have the option of putting the item on a future agenda.