Gun Reform Advocates Lose Cow Palace Battle, Again

Vetoed for the third time, a ban on Cow Palace gun shows rests with the next governor.

In his final legislative session, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a ban on gun shows at Cow Palace for a second time during his tenure.

The Friday veto marked the fourth failed effort to ban gun sales at the state-owned Daly City venue near the border of San Francisco, with another veto by Brown in 2013 and one by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. But gun reform advocates need not dwell on the latest loss — a new governor takes office in 2019 and the leading candidate, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, has historically supported such a ban.

As mayor of San Francisco, Newsom called for legislators to implement a Cow Palace gun show ban, as one state bill would have done in 2007. State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Phil Ting, who both represent San Francisco, introduced a new bill in April and have vowed to do it again during the next legislative session, which begins in January. The next governor assumes office the same month.

“Our local communities have made it crystal clear that we want these gun shows to end. The Cow Palace has stubbornly ignored these requests,” Wiener said in a statement. “Given the Cow Palace’s persistent refusal to cooperate with its neighbors, state legislation is the only path to ending the gun shows.”

Crossroads of the West hosts a gun show five times each year to increasing controversy. Students of nearby Jefferson High School, who joined the national walkout in March against gun violence, have been vocal about their fears related to having guns nearby.

Cow Palace is not the only state property facing pressure to ban gun sales. Newsom joined calls for the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego County to stop gun shows and in September, the board voted to suspend them up to one year until a policy is developed

“If California continues to permit the sale of firearms and ammunition on state-owned property, we are sending a signal that we value the sale of firearms above the lives of Americans,” Newsom wrote in a letter to the board in April. “As Mayor of San Francisco, I pressed to end gun shows in neighboring Daly City because the impact of gun violence isn’t hindered by municipal boundaries.”

But if Newsom fails to follow through on his stated position — and if history is any indication — it could be another eight years until gun control advocates have another shot with the next governor. 

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