Gun shows at the Cow Palace are no more, but legislators aren’t taking it for granted.
A bill to permanently ban gun shows at the Cow Palace venue in Daly City, on the border of San Francisco, passed in a state senate committee on Tuesday and is now headed to a full vote. The Cow Palace Board of Directors, pictured here almost in exclusively in cowboy hats, voted to end the gun shows in April 2019 but San Francisco representatives state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Phil Ting don’t want to risk it coming back years down the line.
The shows were organized five times a year by Crossroads of the West.
“We don’t need gun shows in the heart of the Bay Area, and our local communities have been unanimous and vocal for decades that these gun shows must end and end permanently,” Wiener said in a statement. “Given ongoing threats by the NRA, we need a permanent statutory ban on the Cow Palace gun shows.”
Senate Bill 281 previously threatened to wrestle control from the Cow Palace Board of Directors into a local authority board. The board reaffirmed its decision in November and language for the local authority was removed from the bill.
Wiener’s office notes that the gun shows aren’t at immediate risk of coming back so SB 281 simply bans the sale of firearms in ammunition, with the exception of gun buy-back events held by law enforcement.
“[We] are not concerned about the bill as it is currently worded,” says Kevin Patterson, president of Friends of the Cow Palace. “It addresses only a concern for future gun shows and does not appear to threaten the continuance of the Cow Palace as a much-loved and important state-run fairground facility.”
The 68-acre venue was also floated as a potential site for housing but SB 281 no longer includes any mention of it. At the same meeting that the board voted to discontinue gun shows, it voted to turn 12.5 acres of the upper parking lot into retail and housing.
With fate still in hands of the Board of Directors, community events like dog shows, Christmas fairs, and high school sports will still continue.
“The Cow Palace is having a bit of a renaissance we look forward to more ways it’s going to be able to serve its community,” Patterson says.
Sb 821 is expected to head for a full Senate vote next week.