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Gov. Newsom Signs Bill Banning Gun Shows At Del Mar Fairgrounds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, seated with several Assembly members holding a ...

Credit: California State Assembly

Above: California Gov. Gavin Newsom, seated with several Assembly members holding a copy of a gun-control bill that Newsom signed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday co-authored by three San Diego lawmakers that will ban the sale of guns and ammunition at gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Assembly members Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, and Tasha Boerner-Horvath, D-Encinitas, introduced Assembly Bill 893 in February to bar the state's 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees operations at the fairgrounds, from authorizing the sale of guns and ammunition on fairgrounds property. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, later signed on as a co-author, as well.

Newsom signed the bill among a suite of gun-control measures passed by the state legislature. AB 893 will take effect in 2021.

"Gun violence is an epidemic in this country, one that's been inflamed by the inaction of politicians in Washington," he said. "While Washington has refused to act on even the most basic gun safety reforms, California is once again leading the nation in passing meaningful gun safety reforms."

Gloria called the policy a representation of a community speaking up and the state acting on their behalf.

"This victory is policy and action, not thoughts and prayers -- and it demonstrates that California, with leaders like Governor Newsom, will step up when the Federal Government fails to act," he said.

The 22nd DAA's Board of Directors voted last year to temporarily ban the sale of guns and ammunition at the fairgrounds until state legislators could iron out concerns from gun control activist groups like Never Again California and the cities of Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach about on-site purchases.

The vote effectively suspended gun shows like Crossroads of the West, the most popular show hosted at the fairgrounds, after Jan. 1, 2019.

The bill has faced staunch opposition from gun rights groups like the California Rifle and Pistol Association and the San Diego County Gun Owners political action committee, as well as B&L Productions, which runs the Crossroads of the West gun show.

"Banning a gun show on just one state-owned property, but not on all is proof positive that this is discrimination based on political bias and has nothing to do with safety," SDCGO Executive Director Michael Schwartz said in a statement. "We are opposed to discrimination against a group of law-abiding citizens who are simply practicing their civil rights."

In response to the 22nd DAA Board of Directors' vote, the CRPA filed a lawsuit against the state of California, arguing the ban is unconstitutional.

In June, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in the case, ruling that the state must allow gun shows at the fairgrounds to continue while the court rules on the legality of the suspension. Following the ruling, Crossroads of the West returned to the fairgrounds Sept. 28 and 29 for the first time since last December.

The CRPA and B&L Productions have also said they will file a separate suit against the state regarding the legality of effectively banning gun shows on state property. Tiffany Cheuvront, the attorney representing the CRPA and B&L Productions, could not immediately be reached for comment on potential litigation.

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