Southern California gun shows began the year with very brisk sales in firearms and ammunition. Five hundred people waited outside the Ontario, California Convention Center for four hours to enter the January 5th Crossroads of the West Gun Show. A similar turnout is expected at the San Diego County Fairgrounds during the weekend of March 9th and 10th when Crossroads brings the first of five annual weekend shows to Del Mar. And again, the tiny population of Del Mar will swell with the highest per capita distribution of guns.
The ultimate fact is that the gun industry is simply a big business – making a consumer product that is more lethal and its manufacture less regulated than almost any other consumer product such as sleepwear, toys and cars. Ironically these are consumer products specifically designed to kill and are largely free of federal safety and health regulations. Of the firearms responsible for violent crime, suicide and accidental injury, most are quite newly acquired – 49% of the guns used lethally have been purchased within three years.
And so it goes, more gun purchases will be consummated at our Fairgrounds – and the often violent consequences will reach the hands of trauma surgeons to repair the damages, if survival is even possible. You would think the selling and trafficking of lethal weapons at gun shows is a National Trust since for 23 years our Fair Board has embraced the cycle of gun distribution through gun shows at our State Fairgrounds. No matter how our Fair Board declares these shows as responsibly managed, the products being transacted are not sufficiently regulated for the public’s safety and welfare.
The local grass roots group, Stop the Del Mar Gun Shows, is driving the message hard with its petition campaign to our Fair Board and local officials that local gun shows do not reflect the values or the will of our community. The high levels of lethal violence from the heavy distribution of unregulated guns do not match the social norms of a rapidly growing number of communities. Trafficking in lethal weapons may die hard, but Del Mar residents are diehard activists.