Senator Wiener is at it again. Teamed up with Assemblymember Phil Ting, they have introduced SB 221, which would ban the sale of all guns or ammunition at the Cow Palace beginning in 2020. The Cow Palace is state-owned and located in Daly City on the cusp of San Francisco and San Mateo counties, and local officials have tried for years to shut down the guns shows held there. This is the umpteenth attempt to pass such legislation, and previous attempts were vetoed by both governors Schwarzenegger and Brown, though with every school shooting that occurs, there’s been a greater push for “common sense” gun control.
The gun control zealots are ecstatic about the “amazing outpouring of student activism around the country against gun violence and in favor of gun safety measures” (Wiener). Erica Cardoza, a 16-year old gun control activist who lives right across from the Cow Palace is highly regarded as an important leader of the movement and was supported by Wiener and Ting recently at the Bayshore Community Center in Daly City when they announced their bill. Cardoza proclaimed, “This is a school community—Bayshore Elementary School is right next to the Cow Palace—and it’s crazy to be having a gun show right next to a school…It should be a privilege to own a gun—not just willy-nilly, like you can have whatever you want. It needs to be responsible. We have regulations for cars—why can’t we have regulations on guns?” However, Cardoza noted that she does support the Second Amendment right to bear arms. Indeed. Someone should point out to Cardoza that there is a difference between a “right” and a “privilege.” Furthermore, California already has very restrictive gun regulations, and the shows held at the Cow Palace are always held on the weekends, when school is not in session, so what has the proximity of the school got to do with anything? The mainstream media has whipped up a frenzy at high schools across the country. Another young spokesman for the gun control movement, Amirah Tulloch from Jefferson High School, was also present at the Bayshore Community Center press conference and claimed, “The thing we hear from students over and over again regarding gun issues is that they’re afraid. 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 ran a piece about more people being killed at schools than current military members in 2018. Sorry Washington Post, but even the SF Weekly—hardly a defender of the Second Amendment—pointed out that there are 50 million kids in government schools and only 1.3 million military service members, so your context is way out of whack.
The gun control warriors have gone on the offensive against Crossroads of the West, the organization that runs the gun shows at the Cow Palace and across the country. They urged the Cow Palace’s Board of Directors to investigate whether a decades-old federal firearms conviction of Crossroads founder Bob Templeton is legal grounds to end the current contract, which runs through the end of 2019. Templeton pleaded guilty in 1980 to unlawfully selling a .38 special revolver out of state. He was indicted on 16 counts of unlawful firearms sales, lying, and aiding and abetting, but those charges were dropped. It turns out the contract with the Cow Palace was signed by Templeton’s daughter who has been certified as “kosher” by the Department of Justice’s Department of Firearms, so it doesn’t look like the gun control advocates have a leg to stand on, but that won’t stop them. While it appears likely the Cow Palace probably won’t sign a new contract with Crossroads, the gun control activists can’t even wait 18 months. They are even going so far as saying there’s a possible link between Crossroads and the mass shooting in Las Vegas last year that left 58 people dead. The shooter is accused of illegally purchasing bullets at gun shows in Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the activists are now suggesting that the shooter bought the bullets at shows operated by Crossroads. It is extremely unlikely of finding out where the fatal bullets were purchased, so this possible link is a stretch, to say the least.
The Crossroads folks point out that there has never been any significant incident of violence at Cow Palace gun shows. Most people come there to buy ammunition, not guns, and nobody can just buy a gun and walk away with it. There is a 10-day waiting period and a background check before the purchaser can pick up the weapon from an authorized dealer. They also ask why the federal government hasn’t been prosecuting all the people who lie on background checks. According to the FBI, more than a million people failed their background checks over the last 20 years, but thousands still managed to legally purchase a firearm anyway. In other words, enforce the gun control laws that are already on the books before adding new restrictions. Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, noted that Wiener and Ting are only trying to score political points with their voters, “Here we go again…These shows are as safe as a knitting show or a coin show. But that’s not enough for these politicians.”
We might add a few other things that the Crossroads folks didn’t mention. First and foremost is that the gun control activists want to completely eradicate all private ownership of guns with total gun confiscation as the obvious goal. Australia is often mentioned these days as a paradise due to confiscation of over 700,000 guns after the mass shooting at Port Arthur in 1996. Of course the fable of Nirvana in Australia conveniently leaves out the fact that gun violence has not gone away in Australia and in fact has increased in and around the cities of Melbourne and Victoria. As always, the law-abiding citizens who aren’t shooting anyone are the first to give up their arms, which has no effect on mass shootings, but certainly the criminals and deranged aren’t turning in theirs. Then of course there’s the ever-present black market for all the goods the government says you can’t have but people want and get anyway. Black markets are universal as laws become more restrictive and prevalent. As California has increased its gun control laws, folks have been increasingly traveling to Nevada to buy their ammunition to avoid the Department of Justice’s ammunition buyer’s registry. For those interested in government revenue and a (false) sense of security, the Crossroads gun shows at the Cow Palace provide the Cow Palace with $125,000 annually, and at least the folks who purchase guns and ammunition there were vetted and “regulated.” Most important of all, gun shows provide the citizens with the “teeth” to protect liberty against government tyranny. All of our other freedoms are important, but without the right to bear arms (and that includes securing ammunition), good luck defending ourselves if our government goes awry. History is filled with disastrous examples of what can happen when citizens give up their gun rights in the name of security.
To help ensure the light of liberty remains aflame, the LPSF will have a table at the next gun show at the Cow Palace on the weekend of September 23-24 alongside our longtime ally the Golden Gate Liberty Revolution. In past gun shows, we have found the visitors to be friendly and liberty-leaning, if not downright libertarian. They come with their wives, families, and friends, not just for firearms and ammunition, but also for fishing, other sports-related gear, and survival goods. They are honest, hard-working, law-abiding (not so easy these days with the proliferation of absurd laws) folks concerned about the state of liberty these days. If you have never gone to a gun show before, you might check this one out as the gun control fanatics are determined to get rid of them once and for all. Not that banning gun shows will stop any gun violence, but it will make authoritarian progressives feel good that they have “done something.”