Del Mar Gun Show Postponed Pending Policy Review

The hope is that a policy can be established to be voted on at a later date

The governing board of the Del Mar Fairgrounds voted Tuesday to postpone the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, an exhibit which has been held at the fairgrounds for the past 30 years.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, who oversee activities at the fairgrounds, was considering whether to extend the contract for the multi-annual event.  

The board's contracts oversight committee recommended that this year's scheduled gun shows -- on September 22 and 23 and December 8 and 9 -- are allowed to proceed but are then halted until a new policy for the gun shows has been established.

With an 8-1 vote, the board decided scheduled 2018 shows would go on but it would not renew the gun show's contract for 2019 until it reviews its gun show policy.

Tuesday's meeting was the first time the nine-member board was able to comment on the issue. In past meetings, although the public certainly voiced their opposition or support for the five-times-a-year gun show, the board could not comment because it was not on the agenda. 

Policy changes being considered for the gun show's future included an all-out ban, a gun sale ban and an educational-only type gun show. 

"We had considered the possibility of banning gun shows altogether," board member Richard Valdez said. "That was a request made by many people who came forward from the public. That certainly was the resolution from the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach." 

The recommended policy from the oversight committee is to allow the events to continue as solely a gun education or safety event where no firearms are allowed on site. 

"The recommendation is to prohibit the presence of the guns on the fairgrounds, consistent with every other event, consistent with state law, that the guns will not be allowed on the fairgrounds premises, by folks who attend, by vendors," Valdez said. 

The board will allow itself one year to review its policy, and the gun show could return after that.

Rose Ann Sharp, founder of and an outspoken Crossroads of the West protester, said Tuesday that a ban on guns at the gun show is the solution she is looking for. 

"What I hope comes out of [the board meeting] is that eventually they will look at the community and weigh all the evidence and say you can have educational shows here but you cannot have guns and weapons on the state-owned fairgrounds," Sharp said. 

Gun show advocates argue nothing about the Crossroads event needs to be changed. 

"The fairgrounds is a state-owned resource for everybody in the county and, you know, the gun show has had very little problems in the 30 years that it’s been here," the San Diego County Gun Owners executive administrator Wendy Hauffen said. 

Each of last year’s five gun shows brought more than $60,000 in revenue, according to financial disclosures

The gun show's organizers said that the gun show is not leaving San Diego County, even if the Del Mar Fairgrounds bans them.

"We're not going away," Crossroads of the West General Manager Tracy Olcott said. "If we're not going to be here at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, we're going to be at another venue somewhere close by, so rest assured that gun show is not going away."

Olcott said she hasn't ruled out legal action.

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