Earlier this week, a new bill that would end all guns shows on public property received committee assignment, ensuring that it would be heard before the Senate Public Safety Committee this year.
Senate Bill 264, authored by freshman Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine), would specifically prohibit state officers or employees, as well as any operator or licensee of state property, from allowing the sale of firearms or ammunition on state property. Law enforcement agencies would get a an exemption to SB 264 in the form of gun buyback events.
Gun violence plagued our communities before COVID, it has during, & it will after unless we do something about it. That’s why I introduced #SB264, which bans gun & ammunition sales on state property, effectively ending gun shows. Once & for all, CA has to say #EnoughIsEnough. pic.twitter.com/0mTY5lt6Kb
— Dave Min (@SenDaveMin) January 28, 2021
While the bill did not give any specifics to fines or other punishments should there be a violation, SB 264 did note that there would consequences of sorts.
Senator Min authored the bill largely to stop a “tragic cycle of gun violence” that comes from deadly shooting in the US each year, and specifically targeted to end the Crossroads of the West Gun Show held several times each year at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Min claims that the shows offer a “gun show loophole” that allows the sale of illegal firearms, such as those without serial numbers.
“SB 264 will effectively end the ‘gun show loophole’ and eliminate the sale of ghost guns, straw party sales, gun thefts from careless vendors and other unlicensed conveyances of firearms that all too often occur at gun shows,” Senator Min said late last month. “It also signals decisively that the state of California will not lend its endorsement to the proliferation of more guns into our communities, which are already plagued with gun violence. When kids across the state, including my three children, return to in-person instruction later this year, they’ll once again have to go through the terror of active shooter drills. That’s just wrong.”
“Our county fairgrounds are supposed to be family-friendly venues, long associated with wholesome events like county fairs, 4-H events, rodeos and music festivals. But instead, in recent years, they’ve become most well-known for gun shows. That needs to change, and this bill would accomplish that change. While the Second Amendment allows for the well- regulated sales and purchase of firearms, it does not require that taxpayer-owned properties be used to facilitate those transactions.”
While there have been previously passed bills that banned specific gun shows, such as AB 893, which was passed in 2019 that ended a gun show at Del Mar Fairgrounds, there has yet to be a bill for a total state property sale ban.
Support for, opposition against SB 264
Supporters of the bill applauded Min’s efforts this week as the bill comes closer to committee voting.
“The state of California should not be associated with the selling and promotion of firearms and ammunition,” noted the Brady Campaign, a pro-gun control group, in reaction to SB 264. “Let’s not forget that state-owned properties are supported by taxpayer dollars, so they also must pay for the trauma of firearm violence in our communities.”
However, those who oppose the bill have noted many mistakes with Min’s reasoning, and that Min ignored the economic benefits it gives to Orange County. Crossroads of the West routinely makes Orange County over $700,000 each year through fees and taxes, and has made millions since the show first arrived in Orange County in the 1990’s.
“Senator Min has no idea just how strict gun shows really are,” explained antique firearm restorer Henri Marot to the Globe. “Nothing is loaded and sales are closely monitored. A lot of background checks. Even antique firearms not in working order. Min makes it sound that only crazy people go to these. But that is not remotely true. For many people it is like going to a coin show. They might have an old gun or two and try to sell it because of historic value or want to know more about it. Some people might need to find a certain weapon for protection that only gun shows can bring.”
“And, for many, it’s also a social thing. This is a common interest of many people. Hunters go to these a lot, and since they need several types of guns to hunt a range of animals, this might be their main opportunity to talk to others in person on how to best go about it. Or learn more on which weapon is best to do it. And then there are some who come in trying to get a handgun for home protection but are advised on more of a proper weapon to have if un familiar.”
“Senator Min should physically go to a gun show and see what they are really about before jumping to conclusions. What are they called, junkets? Yes, go on a junket to one. He’s making judgements on something he hasn’t even seen firsthand. I thought he knew what he was doing.”
AB 264 is expected to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee in the next few months.