County bans gun shows at fair­grounds

‘The county will not al­low its prop­er­ties to be used in the pro­lif­er­a­tion of this crit­i­cal pub­lic health hazard’

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - By JohnWool­folk jwool­folk@ba­yare­anews­group.com

Gun shows, fix­tures for gen­er­a­tions of hunters and sports­men look­ing to check out the lat­est in firearms, have been ef­fec­tively banned at the Santa County Clara County fair­grounds.

The Santa Clara County Board of Su­per­vi­sors has unan­i­mously ap­proved an or­di­nance that bans the pos­ses­sion and sale of firearms on county prop­erty. The or­di­nance pro­posed by Su­per­vi­sor Ken Yea­ger and ap­proved Tues­day ex­empts the county- op­er­ated Field Sports Park shoot­ing range, as well as peace of­fi­cers, on- du­tymem­bers of the mil­i­tary, and au­tho­rized con­cealed carry weapon per­mit hold­ers.

“Gun vi­o­lence and gun-re­lated in­juries and deaths are crit­i­cal pub­lic health con­cerns,” Yea­ger said. “This or­di­nance sends a clear mes­sage that the county will not al­low its prop­er­ties or re­sources to be used in the pro­lif­er­a­tion of this crit­i­cal pub­lic health hazard.”

Fi­nal ap­proval of the or­di­nance is ex­pected at the board’s June 5th meet­ing.

The or­di­nance does not pre­vent law­ful gun own­ers from pos­sess­ing or us­ing firearms on pri­vate prop­erty or from buy­ing guns at li­censed ven­dors

through­out the county, Yea­ger said.

Yea­ger ar­gued the or­di­nance will min­i­mize the risk of gun-re­lated in­juries for em­ploy­ees and vis­i­tors, and is con­sis­tent with the county’s mis­sion to pro­mote pub­lic health and safety. Alameda, Los An­ge­les, and San Ma­teo coun­ties have adopted sim­i­lar or­di­nances that have been up­held by the courts, he said.

Gun shows have been a tar­get of crit­i­cism be­cause fed­eral law has more restric­tions on firearm sales from li­censed deal­ers than un­li­censed deal­ers like at gun shows. But un­like many other states, Cali- for­nia re­quires gun deal­ers at gun shows to be fed­er­ally li­censed and that buy­ers wait 10 days to re­ceive a firearm af­ter pur­chase.

A law firm rep­re­sent­ing the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica and the Cal­i­for­nia Ri­fle and Pis­tol As­so­ci­a­tion, which spon­sored the county’s most re­cent gun show Feb. 10 and 11, had writ­ten in a let­ter to the board that the move would be a need­less in­fringe­ment on res­i­dents’ rights.

“To date, we are un­aware of a sin­gle in­stance of vi­o­lence or in­jury oc­cur­ring at a gun show on Santa Clara County prop­erty,” at­tor­ney Matthew D. Cubeiro of Long Beach firm Michel and As­so­ci­ates wrote. “Con­sid­er­ing the afore­men­tioned restric­tions, there is no ‘ gun show loop­hole’ in Cal­i­for­nia be­cause the trans­fer of a firearm is pro­hib­ited from oc­cur­ring at a gun show. As a re­sult, any ar­gu­ment that Cal­i­for­nia gun shows are un­der-reg­u­lated lacks any fac­tual sup­port and is with­out merit.”

But Yea­ger said Tues­day that “mass shoot­ings seem to have be­come a weekly oc­cur­rence in Amer­ica, and Santa Clara County res­i­dents don’t feel safe any­more.”

“By ban­ning the sale and pos­ses­sion of firearms on county prop­er­ties, we min­i­mize the chance that gun­re­lated in­juries will oc­cur there,” Yea­ger said. “Our res­i­dents, em­ploy­ees, and vis­i­tors will both feel safer and be safer.”

JIM GENSHEIMER — STAFF AR­CHIVES

The board has unan­i­mously ap­proved the ban of gun sales and pos­ses­sion on county prop­erty, de­spite hav­ing no is­sues at past fair­ground events

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