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Guns at a Draw
Ira Sharp | Crest Road

Gun shows may return to the Del Mar Fairgrounds as a result of a decision in the lawsuit brought by B&L Productions, doing business as Crossroads of the West Gun Shows, against the 22nd District Agriculture Association which manages the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Judge Cathy Bencivengo of the Federal District Court issued a temporary injunction requiring the 22nd DAA to offer dates to Crossroads for the conduct of gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on the same basis it would offer dates to other repeat vendors. A spokesperson for Crossroads claimed they are discussing dates to hold gun shows with the 22nd DAA. AB 893 may ban the possession and sale of guns and ammunition at the Fairgrounds, including at gun shows, beginning in January, 2021.

The injunction to allow Crossroads to schedule gun shows will be in effect until a hearing for September 26, 2019, at which the Court will presumably rule on whether to dissolve the injunction or make it permanent. In dismissing the suit against two Fair Board directors, the judge stated that she could find no previous case holding that it is a violation of constitutional rights to vote to ban gun shows. If the injunction is not dissolved, it is very likely that the case will be appealed by the State.

Moving on a parallel track is AB 893, authored by Todd Gloria, which would ban all sales of firearms and ammunition at the properties managed by the 22nd DAA, the Del Mar Fairgrounds, effective January 1, 2021. The bill has passed the Assembly and has been approved by the Senate Safety Committee. It is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee where action is expected at the end of August, and then on to the Senate floor where quick action is anticipated.

It is possible that the Fair Board may be required by the Court to permit gun shows and at the same time may be prohibited by AB 893 from allowing the sale of firearms and ammunition on its property. The Fairgrounds hosts cannabis shows at which the possession or sale of cannabis is prohibited. Is the stage being set for Del Mar to be the first Fairgrounds to host a gun show without firearms and ammunition on display or for sale? Would Crossroads sponsor a no-gun gun show?

The court opinion rests primarily on its interpretation of the moratorium on gun shows as a prior restraint of speech that violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and its determination that that there was a lack of evidence of any greater public safety concerns resulting from gun shows at the Fairgrounds than those resulting from any show at the Fairgrounds.



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