SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – People on both sides of the gun debate spoke out in Del Mar on Tuesday with the future of gun shows at the fairgrounds on the line.
The fairgrounds board of directors voted on a proposal that would put gun shows there on hiatus starting next year.
The board meeting wrapped up just before 5 p.m. with the board overwhelmingly voting to table or halt having gun shows at the fairgrounds at least for the next year or until new policy is adopted.
The Crossroads of the West has had a gun show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for 30 years and has two more scheduled this year.
On Tuesday, large crowds on both sides of the gun debate showed up as California's 22nd District Agriculture Association, which oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds, considered holding off on future gun shows.
There was over three hours of public comment and board deliberation on the highly debated topic.
“The state should not be in the business of helping proliferate and profit from the sale of guns and our children are begging them for protection,” said Rose Ann Sharp.
Tiffany Cheuvront is an attorney for the California Rifle and Pistol Association and B&L Productions, which promotes Crossroads of the West – the state’s largest gun show. Each year, the gun show at Del Mar grosses about $500,000.
“The tragedies that happen are terrible, but the way the opposition is trying to equate those tragedies to the people that attend this gun show is false,” said Cheuvront.
The contracts committee recommended the board halt any gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the next and study five issues:
- Consider gun shows for education and training purposes while banning guns and ammunition
- Have gun show contracts aligned with state and federal law
- Have enhanced security plan for future gun shows
- Consider age appropriate for gun shows
- And conduct and audit involving firearms laws
“We think this is a measured and smart approach,” said Rose Ann.
Board members declined interviews before Tuesday’s meeting.
“Gun shows are where law abiding citizens learn and get more gun safety and training. If you get rid of the gun show, you eliminate all of that,” said Cheuvront.
Board documents show 25 reports or charges issued by the Sheriff’s Department since 2013. They include misdemeanor shoplifting to felony drugs possession.