Del Mar City Council urges fair board to ban gun shows

By Claire Harlin

The Del Mar City Council on Jan. 14 unanimously passed a resolution urging the 22nd District Agricultural Association to not renew contracts with any gun show sponsor, including Crossroads of the West, which has held gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds at least four times a year for 22 years.

Local anti-gun efforts began when Del Mar resident Roseanne Holliday hung a sign in her front yard following the Sandy Hook shooting to spread awareness about the Crossroads of the West gun show, which is scheduled to take place March 9 and 10. Locals contacted her in droves and mobilized to gather more than 1,100 signatures supporting a local gun show ban in hopes it would serve as a model to cities nationwide.

“This is a community that has seen something horrific nationally, sees a trade show happening at the fairgrounds and naturally would like to do something to correct the situation,” said Mayor Terry Sinnott. “We should be reflecting what the community wants and feels, so it’s very valid to issue this resolution.”

Sinnott, however, said he thought the resolution brought before the council was not specific enough, and should clarify that council’s concern is based, in part, on the fairgrounds’ failure to meet its mission of being a recreation and entertainment facility with an agricultural focus.

The council accepted the clarification that gun culture is not consistent with the mission of the Ag. Board, however, Councilwoman Lee Haydu pointed out that in a recent community relations committee meeting with Ag. Board members, fair officials responded by saying that guns are consistent with the agricultural portion of the mission because farmers use guns.

The resolution also states that advertising for already scheduled gun shows shall not use the words “Del Mar” in any way, as it implies that the city endorses such events.

“All advertising and signage should be properly identified as hosted by the ‘Fairgrounds’ or ‘22nd District Agricultural Association’ and not the City of Del Mar,” the resolution states.

More than a handful of residents spoke in favor of the resolution, however, local resident Paul Breed spoke in opposition, saying that such regulations need to be consistent. On the same day as the upcoming gun show, he said, there is also a winemaking show scheduled at the fairgrounds, and more people die from alcohol than guns, he said. He also referenced shows selling gems and backyard swimming pools.

“Are you going to make sure there are no conflict diamonds at the gem show and are you going to introduce pool alarms at the pool show?” he said, adding that more children will likely die in backyard swimming pools than from guns this year.

Dexter Haight, president of Greater San Diego’s National Rifle Association members council, spoke in opposition to the resolution, which he said was stifling citizens’ Second Amendment rights. He also said that members of his family, including young grandchildren, learn how to use guns safely and appropriately.

“The bad people who intend to use guns for bad things are not getting guns at guns shows,” he said.

Councilman Don Mosier agreed that there are many responsible, law-abiding gun owners out there, but he said Haight “misspoke about where these guns end up.”

“We know that [some of] these guns end up in Mexico for use in the drug cartel trade,” he said. “The idea that these gun shows only supply to responsible owners is false … There’s plenty of data out there to show that.”

The resolution stated that 33 Americans are murdered every day with guns and that California state laws regulating gun sales is undermined by common private part agreements at gun shows.

“The killing of innocent children and adults may be prevented by reducing the supply of semi-automatic weapons,” the resolution further stated.

Del Mar resident Bud Emerson said that even though gun control is a national issue, “every one of us can take a step.”

“You as leaders can take a step and the fair board can take a step,” he told the council. “It’s a terrible message that we have the administration of instruments of violence in an agricultural institution.”