CRPA Responds to Sen. Min’s SB 264 Misinformation

July 23, 2021

Gun shows are safe – and in California and beyond, they’re family-friendly events that frequently take place across the state. Yet State Senator Dave Min’s recent op-ed pushes a false narrative meant to justify support for his proposed legislation to end gun shows on all state property, like fairgrounds in California, citing dubious statistics about gun shows from across the country. Unfortunately for him, none of these statistics are relevant when it comes to California gun shows – family-friendly events that are governed by countless unique and voluminous state regulations and well-protected by law enforcement.

Rather than citing fact, Senator Min would have you believe that California gun shows are lawless events where redneck vendors sell guns to violent gangs without paperwork. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth — California gun shows are even more highly regulated than brick-and-mortar gun shops. These regulations alone place California gun shows in a class all their own.

Despite their hyperbole, no California politician has been able to provide statistics specific to ANY criminal activity or danger at California gun shows. California gun shows are not a place where criminals get guns – a myth used time and time again to scare people in communities and inaccurately blame “gun culture.”

For those who have never attended a gun show, this is not the place where criminals go to try to pull one over on the licensed and heavily-scrutinized gun dealers there. After all, every firearm dealer has passed a background check and is licensed with both the state and federal government. Law enforcement officers are stationed all over the venue, background checks must occur, and despite the “gun show loophole” myth, no one is leaving a California gun show with a firearm. After all, there is a 10-day waiting period in California and that applies to gun shows just like any other firearm transaction.

Gun shows are family friendly events — the kind that state fair properties were designed to host. In fact, only about 30% of exhibitors sell guns or ammunition. The rest sell a variety of collectibles and merchandise and food – much like a flea market with hot dogs. These are venues that generally only the state can operate; private developers are not allowed to build such places because the state wants the monopoly on fairs. This means that the state has set aside these facilities for large-scale events like gun shows, car shows, bridal shows, boat shows, county fairs, and more — and is now trying to ban only one type of lawful commercial transaction because some lawmakers have decided they don’t like gun shows.

Ultimately, the point is this: the government should not discriminate against lawful activity just because they do not agree with it.

Gun shows draw multiple generations of families who share a love for passing on their heritage of hunting and the outdoors. Gun shows draw couples who, many times, are introducing their spouse to firearms and self-protection. Gun shows draw new gun owners, like the more than 1 million new gun buyers in 2020, who want to learn more about protecting themselves and their families. And most importantly, gun shows provide a venue for those who choose to own a firearm for lawful purposes to learn more about firearms and discuss issues that are important to gun owners in California.

This is not the first time that California politicians tried to end gun shows at the request of well-funded gun control lobbying groups like Everytown while masquerading as grassroots advocates. For decades, these groups have pushed politicians to try to stop lawful gun shows — all without any evidence to support any of their claims. In 2019, hundreds of supporters showed up in support of the gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. State officials were told by their lawyers that the gun shows were safe and operating within the law, that the proposed ban was a First Amendment violation, and the state was warned countless times that a violation of constitutional rights would bring litigation. Only one board member listened — and because he dissented, the Governor promptly fired him.

The constitutional violation in Del Mar was stopped because thousands of gun owners (not big gun manufacturers or the NRA like they would like you to believe) came together and fought back. The federal court made it clear that banning gun shows in these venues was an unconstitutional attack on free speech and association, and the state paid out damages. It cost them – and us as taxpayers — dearly.

But back to the main point at hand: since a federal court has already ruled that banning gun shows on state property is unconstitutional, and since the Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is an individual right, why does Min continue to try to limit the rights of the people?

Senator Min is part of the well-financed California gun control machine and is pushing their disarmament agenda in lock-step. He knows his law will be overturned in court and that it will cost

California taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees. The only thing that Senator Min and his gun control supporters have been able to prove is that they will go to any length to discourage gun ownership while continuing to be soft on criminals.

Family friendly, law enforcement-heavy gun shows are not dangerous and absolutely belong on government property as much as a summer fair. After all, the government is supposed to be the protector of our constitutional rights – not the ones who take it away.

California Rifle & Pistol Association encourages all firearms owners in California to call their State Senator and oppose Senate Bill 264, which would effectively and unfairly end gun shows on all state owned property in California.

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