Gun Shows at Cow Palace Face Ban, Again

Could increasing calls for gun control make this the fifth and final attempt to ban gun sales at the state-owned property?

The nationwide call for gun control may finally have an effect close to home; Local legislators are taking another shot at banning gun shows held at Cow Palace.

State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Phil Ting, who both represent San Francisco, are renewing efforts against a seemingly-intractable ban of gun shows at the state-owned Cow Palace in Daly City. Out of the four previous attempts shut down the shows, the state legislature approved two bills that were ultimately vetoed by governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, most recently in 2013.

“Things have changed in the past five years,” Wiener said at a press conference on Monday. “It does not make sense to continue having these gun shows at the Cow Palace.”

State Sen. Scott Wiener leads a press conference at Bayshore Community Center to announce legislation banning gun shows at Cow Palace (Photo courtesy Scott Wiener)

Crossroads of the West hosts the show five times each year to increasing controversy, especially when coinciding with mass shootings. The most recent gun show was held in April, a couple months after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. killed 17 people.

Students at nearby Jefferson High School held a walkout against gun violence and remain determined to prevent a shooting at their own school. At the press conference held at the Bayshore Community Center, recent Jefferson High School graduate Amirah Tulloch commended local representatives in San Francisco and San Mateo counties for continuing to fight the gun shows. 

“The thing we hear from students over and over again regarding gun issues is that they’re afraid,” Tulloch said. “They’ve shifted from learning environments to places where they’re not even sure they’re going to survive the day.”

After the shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, the Washington Post found that more people have been killed at schools than current military members in 2018. (With 50 million public school students and 1.3 million service members, those numbers say more about 2018 than the general danger of schools compared to combat zones.)

Reducing the stockpile of an estimated 310 million firearms in the country is one clear objective of gun control advocates. Though gun buybacks in San Francisco and Daly City are met with great success, a gun show held multiple times each year on the border of both cities is a setback.

“Our communities are trying to get guns off the street, not get more guns on the streets,” Ting said.

Senate Bill 221 would begin banning the sale of guns and ammunition in January 2020 to let Cow Palace run out its contract with the gun show. Gun buybacks run by law enforcement would be an exception to the rule.

Robert Templeton, co-owner of Crossroads of the West Gun Shows in Utah, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Cow Palace gun shows already enact a 10-day waiting period and background. He added that there is common ground to prevent gun violence, but that it should be focused on those who have committed crimes and are mentally ill, not the number of guns.

If the most recent legislation does not get signed, Wiener vowed to bring it back until the gun shows are eliminated for good.

“In the ongoing and escalating epidemic of gun violence in the state and in this country, it’s about time that the local community is heard,” says mayoral candidate Mark Leno, who led multiple legislative efforts to ban the shows at Cow Palace. “These neighbors do not want them and for good reason.”

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