“It’s not about who gets the largest turnout, It’s about the law, and what our government officials are willing to do to protect us. And it’s about the epidemic of gun violence. If it were not for these mass killings, we’d be having a very different conversation.” That’s the, er, argument Rose Ann Sharp (above right) of NeverAgainCA made recently before the board that oversees the Del Mar fairgrounds, site of heavily attended four-times-a-year Crossroads of the West gun shows that have been held at the fairgrounds for the last 28 years.
Sharp and her group would like nothing better than to put an end to the gun shows. Why? They won’t say it, but one middle-schooler did.
“We need to take action to stop the proliferation and glorification” of guns, said Zak McHale, a North County seventh-grader.
For Sharp and her group, it’s all about de-normalizing and other-ing guns and gun owners. Something California’s been working hard at for a couple of decades now. The fact that thousands of people come to the Del Mar Fairgrounds gun shows and enjoy themselves every year cuts no ice with her or her anti-gun scolds.
But OMG! What about the dreaded gun show loophole? These events are really just unregulated gun bazaars where felons and God-knows-who can just walk up and leave with deadly weapons of war!
Only they can’t. As the San Diego Union Tribune article points out . . .
Guns can be purchased at the show, but state law requires background checks and a waiting period. No one can legally buy a gun at the show and take it home the same day.
That’s right. Among the dozens of new restrictions that California has imposed over the years on its legally overburdened citizens who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights are universal background checks and a 10-day waiting period on all firearms purchases. So no one will be walking out of a Del Mar County gun show with a firearm he or she bought that day.
That being the case, what’s bothering Sharp and her hoplophobic friends? That’s a rhetorical question.
Three cities in the county (which also includes San Diego) have asked the fairgrounds board to ban gun show. They are the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas.
Cities that voted to ban the show are revealing their prejudice, said Michael Schwartz, executive director of the political group San Diego County Gun Owners.
“This is the beginning of a path of intolerance that I hope you’ll ignore,” Schwartz said, adding that the 1,000 members of his group will continue to write letters and speak in support of the gun show.
Schwartz and other gun right supporters reportedly outnumbered opponents at the board meeting by four to one.
Sharp’s group picketed outside the Crossroads show at the fairgrounds in March and plans to return at the next show in May.
“We want a cultural shift,” said Kelly Harless of Solana Beach, another member of the group. “Do the noble thing and stop these shows.”
Because they’re icky. And only icky people go to guns shows. That shift Harless wants to happen is really just an act of cultural hygiene, needed to show that those people aren’t welcome in and won’t be accommodated by Del Mar.
Here’s a familiar refrain . . .
Del Mar resident Pam Slater-Price, a former member of the county Board of Supervisors, said she fully supports Second Amendment rights, but that the public fairgrounds is not “an appropriate venue” for the gun show.
After three hours of public comment, the board said they’d like to do their own analysis of the shows, their policies and economics. And they want to find out what other county boards around the state have done.
Eight of the nine board members are Democrats appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
One, Russ Penniman, is a Republican first appointed by Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and since then reappointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and then by Brown.
Want to predict how the board is likely to decide the issue?