Cow Palace Board Bows to Pressure, Ends Gun Shows

State Sen. Scott Wiener's latest attempt to halt gun sales on state property would have transferred the board's power.

There have been multiple legislative efforts to ban gun shows at the state-owned Cow Palace venue (Photo by Laura Waxmann)

After 15 years of legislative efforts to ban gun shows at the Cow Palace, its board of directors acquiesced on Tuesday.

The Cow Palace Board of Directors unanimously voted to discontinue all gun shows at the Daly City venue starting Jan. 1, when the contract with Crossroads of the West ends.  The vote marks a huge win for the neighboring communities of San Francisco and Brisbane who, for decades, pleaded for years to reduce gun violence.

“I applaud them for putting the safety of the community above their individual finances for the Cow Palace,” says Ruth Borenstein of the Brady United Against Gun Violence, San Francisco chapter. “I think the time was right for them.”

Though advocates like Borenstein are grateful the board made the right choice, they didn’t have much of one. State Sen. Scott Wiener’s latest legislative attempt to end the Cow Palace’s gun shows would strip their authority to make such calls.

SB 281 is the fifth such bill, three of which were vetoed under Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, most recently in October. But current Gov. Gavin Newsom, who called for a Cow Palace gun show ban as San Francisco mayor, would have been much more likely to sign off. 

“Now that we are pursuing legislation to get to the root of the problem by transferring the Cow Palace’s land to local control—SB 281—the Cow Palace is paying attention,” Wiener says in a statement. “Today’s decision to end the gun shows, while welcome, does not change the need for fundamental change at the Cow Palace.”

Gun shows took place at the venue five times a year and brought in about $125,000 a year, the Examiner reported.

As the authority to reinstate gun shows still rests with the cowboy hat-wearing Cow Palace board, Wiener is still pushing the ban forward. Plus, its establishment of a joint power authority could still be valuable to San Francisco, Daly City, and San Mateo County.

“This is a battle that’s been brewing for over two decades,” says San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa in a statement. “The state should not profit off the sales of guns and now it no longer will at the Cow Palace.

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