California Lawmakers pass Gun Show Ban

(CONTRA COSTA TIMES)   The days of gun shows at the Cow Palace appear numbered.
On a 45-33 vote, the California Assembly on Wednesday passed legislation banning the sale of firearms and ammunition at the state-owned entertainment venue.
The Assembly’s vote came three months after the state Senate approved the bill, which is expected to head to the governor’s desk in the next few weeks.
If signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senate Bill 585 would take effect Jan. 1, stipulating that no more than five gun shows may be held at the Cow Palace during the years 2010, 2011 and 2012. By Jan. 1, 2013, there would be no gun shows permitted there at all.
The bill is “about respecting local values and local standards,” said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who wrote the legislation. Those who live near the Cow Palace “do not want gun shows there,” he said.
According to Leno, 44 percent of the homicides and more than 30 percent of the guns seized in San Francisco have happened in the Visitacion Valley, Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhoods and the Mission District since 2005.
The bill also is a response to residents’ calls and resolutions passed by the counties of San Francisco and San Mateo to end gun shows in their neighborhoods, Leno said.
Residents and community groups have asserted that illegal firearm sales occur in the Cow Palace parking lot whenever the Crossroads of the West gun show is in town.

Bob Templeton, producer of the traveling show, could not be reached for comment.

Templeton, however, previously has denied that illegal gun sales happen at the Cow Palace, which is owned and operated by the state Department of Agriculture’s Division of Fairs and Expositions.

He has also maintained that his event abides by state laws, which mandate background checks and a 10-day waiting period for all firearm buyers.

The Crossroads show has been known to draw 2,000 to 3,000 Bay Area residents. It’s scheduled to return to the Cow Palace on Sept. 19-20 and in November, January, March and May.

Elsewhere, Alameda, Marin and Los Angeles counties have banned gun shows at county-owned facilities with local ordinances.

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