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Gun Show Promoters Vow To Challenge New Law Banning Gun, Ammo Sales At Fairgrounds

Inside the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Sept. ...

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: Inside the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, Sept. 29. 2018.

Lawyers representing gun show promoters Crossroads of the West said they will launch a legal challenge to a new state law that bans the sale of guns and ammo at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

San Diego Assemblyman Todd Gloria authored the bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law last week.

"The communities around the Del Mar fairgrounds have been very clear — this is not what they want in their community and the state should be complicit with the injection of additional guns in our neighborhood," Gloria said last week before the bill was signed into law.

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Roland Lizarondo

Legal expert Dan Eaton with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek said Gloria’s bill, which is scheduled to take effect in 2021, is headed straight for the courts.

"This is an effort by the state to address gun violence by any means necessary," Eaton said. "Unfortunately, in this case, the state the state may have chosen an unconstitutional means and that’s why we have courts."

RELATED: US District Court Judge Rules Del Mar Gun Shows Can Continue … For Now

The fairgrounds tried to temporarily ban gun shows last year but Crossroads of the West sued and a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction saying the shows must go on. This new law says guns and ammo sales are not allowed in Del Mar starting in 2021 — effectively banning gun shows there.

"This is a test case because they (the State of California) know this is going to be subject to litigation and you can expect that if this legislation survives a federal lawsuit then you will see this legislation extended to other fairgrounds as well," Eaton said.

In their current suit, Crossroads of the West and others argue that the ban violates the First Amendment. Lawyers representing the promoters said Monday that suit will be expanded to challenge the new law.

"As far as the gun promoters are concerned this is a matter of free speech and free assembly," Eaton said. "They’re saying that we are coming together to celebrate gun culture."

However, Eaton said the state does not see this as a constitutional issue. "[It] has nothing to do with suppressing free speech and everything to do with suppressing sales that the state believes ultimately lead to gun violence," he said.

Eaton said the issue could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But while this legal battle unfolds, the gun shows will continue for the time being. There is a show scheduled for December in Del Mar.

A spokeswoman for the Del Mar Fairgrounds board said because of the pending litigation it is not commenting but did say it would adhere to the new law when it takes effect in 2021.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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