By Claire Harlin
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut took place on a Friday, and like many around the world, longtime Del Mar resident Roseanne Holliday spent the following Saturday and Sunday reading about the tragedy and trying to make sense of it.
“I was so overcome. I said, ‘I have to do something,’” said Holliday, who took matters into her own hands by bringing attention to the Crossroads of the West Gunshow, one of the largest firearm retail events on the West Coast, which has taken place four times a year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the past 22 years. The next show is set to take place on March 9 and 10.
Soon after the Connecticut tragedy, Holliday hand wrote a sign that reads “Stop Del Mar Gun Show and Sale” and placed it in her front yard, and within a couple weeks she has amassed the support of at least 70 residents, many of whom have signed a petition to ban gun shows in Del Mar. She also invited those interested in the cause to attend an organizational meeting on Jan. 6. She said she expected about 25 people, however, at least 50 people showed up and packed her Del Mar home.
“At the bottom of the sign I put my email address, so I’ve been getting a lot of emails,” she said. “People are even coming up to me at the store asking how they can get involved.”
In recent weeks, some gun shows in Connecticut have been banned, and other places across the country — from New York to central Texas — are looking into similar measures.
Holliday said she hopes efforts in Del Mar will be a model for the entire state.
“They banned shows in Connecticut, and the 3,000 miles between us means nothing,” she said. “I’d feel the same way about this if Sandy Hook was a mile away.”
Crossroads of the West owner Bob Templeton said he’s “been through this in the past with the residents of Del Mar.” He will provide protest space at his upcoming show if necessary, he added.
“If the residents of Del Mar wish to protest, we support their First Amendment right to do that,” said Templeton, who has been putting on gun shows for 35 years. “But I hope they will also respect our Second Amendment right to own firearms lawfully.”
He added that gun shows are one of the most highly regulated industries in California, and there are both uniformed and undercover officers from the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and local sheriff’s departments at each show.
Templeton said he is in a three-year contract with the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Del Mar is one of the most attended of his 13 show locations, next to Orange County.
“We don’t plan to change anything that we have in place,” he said, adding that he is not anticipating that the petition will have any impact on his company’s operations.
“There are lot of people in San Diego County who own and use firearms, and they are upset by the fact that others would try to curtail their right to own and buy them,” Templeton said.
For more information, contact Holliday at Roseanne@thehollidays.com. To view the petition, visit https://www.change.org/petitions/the-board-of-directors-of-the-22nd-agricultural-district-cease-any-new-gun-show-contracts-now-and-in-the-future.