Category Archives: Gun control

Yay! No more gun shows at Solano Fairgrounds in Vallejo!

Solano County Fairgrounds board votes to ban gun shows

October, December event contracts honored

The Code of the West Gun Show runs three to five times a year at the Solano County Fairgrounds’ Exposition Hall. The fair board voted to ban gun shows after the two contracted shows this year. (Times-Herald file photo)
Vallejo Times-Herald, by Richard Freedman, August 10, 2021

The partnership between Code of the West and the Solano County Fairgrounds is no longer rising with a bullet. The 20-plus year welcome mat was yanked off the front porch Monday night with a 4-1 vote banning all gun shows at the north Vallejo venue.

The gun show ban is cast in stone — for now. At the advice of counsel, the board of directors will honor signed contacts for Oct. 9-10 and Dec. 4-5 Code of the West events.

“My crystal ball is not very clear nowadays, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this question comes back again,” said Mike Ioakimedes, president and CEO of the Solano County Fairgrounds.

In a “Special Meeting by the Board of Directors,” Kari Birdseye, Valerie Williams, Norma Placido, and Manny Angel voted for the ban. Lee Williams voted against.

Photo: The art of making a mess in Vallejo
“I respect the careful thought this independent governing body gave to a very serious problem,” said Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell.

Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan and state Sen. Bill Dodd supported the fair association’s vote.

“That’s a good decision. There are enough guns in our country,” Hannigan said. “The Solano County Fairgrounds does not need to continue to support gun purchases.”

“Gun violence is a serious problem across our nation and here in Solano County,” said Dodd on Tuesday. “I’ve been clear that the state should not be involved in gun sales and I appreciate Solano County taking a close look at how they use the fairgrounds.”

While praising Code of the West for adhering to gun and ammunition purchase restrictions, with no issues at the shows, the prevalent reason cited for the ban was Vallejo’s high weapons-related crime rate.

Lee Williams vehemently disagreed.

“Stopping the gun show (at the fairgrounds) is not the answer. Education of guns is the answer,” Williams said. “I’m sorry the gun violence in Vallejo is really bad. A lot of the gun violence you’re seeing is due to the drug level going on in our communities. I see the professionalism at these gun shows and everything is on the up and up. If something went down (illegally), this should not be at this venue or other places in the state.”

Birdseye was the most vocal against hosting gun shows.

“This (gun violence) is a crisis in Vallejo and now is the time to take action,” she said. “I have learned that the gun shows sell out of ammunition, the first thing. To me, that is really concerning. A lot of people are showing up to get their ammo and to go. They take in a (safety) lesson or look at the antique guns. They are there to get ammunition and Vallejo is a pretty violent city with a lot of crime going on and the last thing we need is more ammunition in the streets.”

Birdseye said she believes in the Second Amendment, “but we are talking about a severely-impacted community and the fairgrounds sits in the middle of it.”

Board of Directors chair Manny Angel wavered on both sides of the issue, wanting to vote “yes” and “no,” initially abstaining, and finally voting to ban the gun shows.

“This is a pretty sensitive topic. It’s a hot-button issue,” Angel said. “We’re just operating these fairgrounds. This isn’t something I think we should be able to make the call on. We’re just hosting events and activities here.” Angel said the decision on banning gun shows “should come from upstairs.”

Birdseye immediately disagreed.

“We ask for autonomy from the county on many occasions,” she said. “I don’t feel like it’s our position to say, ‘Oh county, make the decision for us’ because we are in charge of the events.”

“The majority of people obtaining guns in town aren’t getting them from our gun shows,” Angel said. “People obtaining these firearms already have issues with the law. I don’t have all the answers. All I know is we have an opportunity here to do something about that. I don’t want to take away anybody’s ability to own a gun. On the other hand, you see in the news, see everywhere what’s happening in town.”

When roll call began, Angel said that “I am going to abstain on this vote. I wanted to vote ‘yes’ and I ‘no.’ I don’t think I have the authority to make that call. I think it’s on everyone else to make that call.”

When Ioakimedes asked Birdseye to repeat the vote for the meeting’s minutes, Angel changed his mind, voting “yes” on the ban.

“I don’t think it’ll have a direct impact on Vallejo’s violence. At least I know we’re trying to do something make an effort to make it right by the community,” Angel said.

Valerie Williams said she had “mixed emotions whether we should be hosting gun shows or not.”

“My husband is a hunter and my dad was a hunter,” she said. “We were taught to handle firearms properly. But I understand not everyone lives the same way. We all see the news — these mass shootings. Often these people have mental illness or other problems. That’s my concern. I feel our gun shows are following the laws that dictate how they can transfer firearms. I don’t think anybody’s right to purchase firearms trumps someone’s right to survive the day and come home.”

Placido said that crime “is really terrible here in Vallejo and we have to make sure we will not continue to host a gun show.”

Jason Smith of Code of the West defended more than two decades of shows his family has produced at the fairgrounds “in a safe environment for gun enthusiasts, whether they are collectors, hunters, or like to go to the shooting range. We never had a single issue at the fairgrounds.”

Smith squelched the “false rumor” that there’s a “gun show loophole” in buying firearms, “that you can buy a gun and leave that day with it or buy ammo without having a background check. That’s all false.”

The same background checks and wait period laws that a gun store has to follow are the same laws restricting gun shows, Smith said.

“We definitely follow all the state and federal guidelines or we would be shut down by the Department of Justice,” said Smith, who said in an interview Tuesday afternoon that he “didn’t expect” a board vote Monday.

“I knew there was a meeting scheduled to discuss the future of gun shows at the Solano County Fairgrounds but I did not realize there was an actual vote taking place on Monday night,” he said.

Smith criticized the board members’ knowledge of the gun debate.

“People that are against gun shows tend to base their decisions off of misinformation and are not educated about the industry,” he said. “For example, one board member mentioned people arriving to the gun show and buying all of the ammo first thing Saturday morning. This has been true the past couple of shows because there is an industry-wide ammo shortage right now. Arriving early is necessary if you want a chance to purchase ammo. People are not hoarding or stockpiling. There is simply a shortage.”

During the public comment segment of the Zoom meeting, gun show proponent Jeff Moorhead said he has been a Code of the West participant at the fairgrounds “for a long time.”

“Why would we not allow gun shows to continue at the Solano County Fair? I have never witnessed at any time an illegal transaction. The gun shows have been very professional,” Moorhead said, calling it “a fundamental right of Americans to be able to obtain firearms.”

The gun shows bring in “about $40,000 to $50,000 in gross annual sales,” Iokimedes said, acknowledging that replacing the income “will be a tough nut to crack.”

Vallejo Fairgrounds Board has discussed banning gun shows, Solano County could take action

[Editor: I’m calling on the Fairgrounds Board and the Solano County Board of Supervisors to ban these horrible events as have officials in other local fairgrounds sites.  Too many guns are already in our homes and on our streets – stop the gun violence now!  – R.S.]

Bill to ban gun shows won’t impact Solano County Fairgrounds

State-owned property only

The Code of the West Gun Show runs three to five times a year at the Solano County Fairgrounds’ Exposition Hall. The possible ban of gun shows won’t impact the county-own fairgrounds. (Times-Herald file photo)
Vallejo Times-Herald, by Richard Freedman, June 10, 2021

A bill passed by the state Senate on June 1 that would ban gun shows on state-owned property will not impact the Solano County Fairgrounds.

Though the Dixon May Fair site would be affected because it’s state-run, the Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo is county-owned.

However, a policy against gun shows could still be enacted by the Solano County Board of Supervisors, said Solano County Fairgrounds Executive Director and CEO Mike Iokimedes.

“It’s something our (fairgrounds) board definitely has discussed,” Iokimedes said by phone Thursday. “Other jurisdictions have passed local legislation that prohibits gun shows.”

Gun show production company Code of the West out of El Dorado Hills books the fairgrounds three to five times every year, confirmed Iokimedes “and has done so for while.” The next gun show is in the books for July 10-11.

Iokimedes said there have “been no incidences” at the gun shows.

Authored by state Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, SB-264 heads to the Assembly after passing the Senate by a 21-9 vote.

Min told the Orange County Register that the idea for his bill was born in 2019, when mass shootings took place on two consecutive days in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

Min doesn’t believe property the state manages on behalf of taxpayers should be used to sell guns that in some cases get dispersed into the community, where they may contribute to gun violence and its incalculable social and financial costs, he said.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, agrees.

“I’m a hunter myself, but California shouldn’t be in the business of renting state property to sell guns,” said Dodd. “We cannot in good conscious contribute to a problem that threatens the safety of every community.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, who has backed several gun-control bills, didn’t comment on the pending gun show ban “because he doesn’t usually comment on state legislation since it’s outside his jurisdiction,” said Alex MacFarlane, Thompson’s Washington, D.C., representative.

Iokimedes said the gun shows at the fairgrounds “have run pretty smoothly” and emphasized that fees generated by Code of the West “allow us to provide the fairgrounds” at no cost for various community events such as, ironically, the Vallejo Gun Buy-Back, and Food is Free distribution.

Iokimedes said there are strict requirements the Code of the West or any other gun show producer must adhere to, including no loaded weapons “and other criteria that’s the same as other events.”

If the state bans gun shows “straight across the board, then we could not host gun shows,” Iokimedes said.

Though the fairgrounds board welcomes the gun shows, it rejected one promoter hoping to stage a cannabis event, Iokimedes confirmed.

“Our board of supervisors were not comfortable with any onsite consumption,” Iokimedes said.

Epidemic of 133 Mass Shootings in the US over the first 98 days of 2021

161 Killed and 524 Injured in just the MASS shootings so far this year (4 or more victims)

By Roger Straw, April 9, 2021

The Gun Violence Archive shows so much more than just numbers.  Each number represents the horrific story of friends’ and families’ nightmare.  See the numbers below, and so much more at Gun Violence Archive.

“Mass Shootings are, for the most part an American phenomenon. While they are generally grouped together as one type of incident they are several with the foundation definition being that they have a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.”

TOTAL OF 133 MASS SHOOTINGS JAN. 1 TO APR. 8, 161 KILLED, 524 INJURED
Source: Gun Violence Archive: https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/ where you can read details on each incident, and much more.
Incident Date State City Or County Address # Killed # Injured
8-Apr-21 Texas Bryan 350 Stone City Dr 1 5
7-Apr-21 South Carolina Rock Hill 4456 Marshall Rd 6 1
7-Apr-21 Wisconsin Milwaukee 2627 W Capitol Dr 2 2
6-Apr-21 District of Columbia Washington 4100 block of Ames St NE 0 4
6-Apr-21 Michigan Detroit 6100 block of Lodewyck St 1 3
5-Apr-21 Illinois Chicago 6800 block of S Justine Ave 0 7
5-Apr-21 Maryland Baltimore 300 block of N Eutaw St 0 5
4-Apr-21 Louisiana Monroe 207 Sterlington Rd 0 6
4-Apr-21 Alabama Birmingham 3969 14th Ave N 1 5
4-Apr-21 Texas Beaumont 6035 S M L King Jr Pkwy 0 4
3-Apr-21 North Carolina Wilmington 718 Kidder St 3 4
3-Apr-21 Alabama Tuscaloosa 2314 4th St 0 5
3-Apr-21 Texas Allen 1517 Pine Bluff Dr 6 0
3-Apr-21 Florida Quincy 2114 Pat Thomas Parkway 0 7
31-Mar-21 California Orange 202 West Lincoln Ave 4 2
31-Mar-21 District of Columbia Washington 1300 block of Congress St SE 2 3
28-Mar-21 Ohio Cleveland 5100 Pearl Rd 0 7
28-Mar-21 Illinois Chicago I-57 and W 127th St 0 4
28-Mar-21 Maryland Essex 1601 Middleborough Rd 5 1
28-Mar-21 Texas San Antonio 2011 Dollarhide Ave 0 4
27-Mar-21 Illinois Chicago 500 block of N Leamington Ave 0 4
27-Mar-21 Mississippi Yazoo City Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr and Shady Dr 0 6
27-Mar-21 Illinois River Grove Belmont Ave 1 3
26-Mar-21 Virginia Virginia Beach 2000 block of Atlantic Ave 0 9
26-Mar-21 Illinois Chicago 2515 W 79th St 1 7
26-Mar-21 Virginia Norfolk 100 block of W Balview Ave 0 4
26-Mar-21 Tennessee Memphis 500 block of Arrington Ave 3 2
26-Mar-21 Pennsylvania Philadelphia 1080 N Delaware Ave 0 7
23-Mar-21 Alabama Aliceville 1st Ave SW and 15th St 2 2
22-Mar-21 Colorado Boulder 3600 Table Mesa Dr 10 1
22-Mar-21 Michigan Detroit 13300 block of Davidson St 1 3
20-Mar-21 Texas Houston 10266 North Fwy 0 5
20-Mar-21 Texas Dallas 10333 Technology Blvd 1 7
20-Mar-21 Pennsylvania Philadelphia 4234 Germantown Ave 1 5
18-Mar-21 Oregon Gresham 750 E Powell Blvd 0 4
18-Mar-21 Louisiana New Orleans 2400 Annette St 0 4
17-Mar-21 California Stockton Oro Ave and E Main St 0 5
16-Mar-21 Georgia Acworth 6468 Hwy 92 8 1
16-Mar-21 Arizona Phoenix 6215 W Elm St 4 1
15-Mar-21 Indiana Indianapolis 2300 block of N Harding St 1 4
14-Mar-21 Florida Tampa 10101 US-92 0 4
14-Mar-21 Illinois Chicago 2600 block of E 77th St 0 4
14-Mar-21 Illinois Chicago 6798 block of S South Chicago Ave 2 13
13-Mar-21 New York Brooklyn 917 Flushing Ave 0 5
13-Mar-21 Florida Orlando 200 block of Ring Rd 1 3
13-Mar-21 Indiana Indianapolis 300 block of N Randolph St 4 1
13-Mar-21 Virginia Richmond 5100 block of Richmond Henrico Tpke 2 4
12-Mar-21 North Carolina Greensboro 100 block of Huffman St 1 3
12-Mar-21 Texas Austin 7408 Cameron Rd 0 4
11-Mar-21 New Mexico Ohkay Owingeh (Chamita) 89 Rio Arriba Co Rd 56 1 3
11-Mar-21 Pennsylvania Philadelphia 1400 block of N 76th St 1 3
10-Mar-21 Texas Houston 6300 Ranchester Dr 3 1
8-Mar-21 Florida Clearwater US-19 ALT and Drew St 1 3
7-Mar-21 Mississippi Edwards 607 Wallace Dr 0 4
6-Mar-21 California Yuba City Countryside Dr and Littlejohn Dr 2 3
6-Mar-21 North Carolina Fayetteville 200 block of Shads Ford Blvd 1 4
5-Mar-21 California Compton 600 block of N Long Beach Blvd 1 4
4-Mar-21 District of Columbia Washington 3900 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SW 0 5
3-Mar-21 Pennsylvania Erie 2105 Buffalo Rd 2 3
28-Feb-21 Ohio Cincinnati 3600 block of Idlewild Ave 3 3
28-Feb-21 Indiana East Chicago 1205 W Chicago Ave 0 4
28-Feb-21 Delaware Dover 21 S Little Creek Rd 0 4
28-Feb-21 South Carolina Mccormick 437 Talbert Rd 0 4
28-Feb-21 Louisiana Shreveport 4914 Mansfield Rd 0 5
28-Feb-21 Texas Houston 13484 Northwest Fwy 0 4
27-Feb-21 Mississippi Columbus 1200 block of 7th St S 0 4
27-Feb-21 Mississippi Pattison Pattison-Tillman Rd 2 3
26-Feb-21 Texas Houston 8708 Beechnut St 1 5
26-Feb-21 Louisiana Baton Rouge 4700 block of Paige St 0 4
26-Feb-21 California San Diego 841 S 45th St 1 3
21-Feb-21 Missouri Kennett 1615 1st St 1 4
21-Feb-21 North Carolina Teachey Thomas Smith Ln and Bay Rd 0 4
20-Feb-21 Pennsylvania Norristown (East Norriton) 2912 Swede Rd 1 4
20-Feb-21 Colorado Grand Junction 1000 block of Teller Ave 1 3
20-Feb-21 Illinois Springfield 1100 block of S Grand Ave W 1 4
20-Feb-21 Louisiana Metairie 6719 Airline Dr 3 2
18-Feb-21 Louisiana Baton Rouge 2047 N Foster Dr 1 3
17-Feb-21 Pennsylvania Philadelphia 5597 Old York Rd 0 8
16-Feb-21 Florida Saint Petersburg 2968 Emerson Ave S 3 1
13-Feb-21 California San Francisco 3rd St and Quesada Ave 0 6
13-Feb-21 Indiana Indianapolis 3800 block of N Sherman Dr 0 4
13-Feb-21 California Oakland 1000 block of Washington St 0 6
13-Feb-21 North Carolina Cary 101 Reed St 1 3
11-Feb-21 Georgia Columbus 2001 South Lumpkin Rd 1 4
10-Feb-21 Georgia Atlanta 62 Harwell Rd NW 0 4
9-Feb-21 Texas Houston 945 W Little York Rd 0 4
9-Feb-21 Minnesota Buffalo 755 Crossroads Campus Dr 1 4
6-Feb-21 Tennessee Murfreesboro Ewing Blvd and West St 1 4
6-Feb-21 Louisiana Thibodaux 1100 block of Tiger Dr 0 4
6-Feb-21 Illinois Bloomingdale 250 W Schick Rd 1 5
6-Feb-21 Washington Tacoma 3634 E McKinley Ave 1 3
5-Feb-21 Pennsylvania Mohnton 360 E Wyomissing Ave 1 3
5-Feb-21 Mississippi Benoit 1017 Lake Bolivar Rd 3 1
4-Feb-21 North Carolina High Point 2912 W English Rd 2 3
3-Feb-21 Tennessee Memphis 800 block of Olympic St 1 3
3-Feb-21 Colorado Oak Creek 200 block of Wild Hogg Dr 3 2
2-Feb-21 Florida Fort Lauderdale (Sunrise) 10100 Reflections Blvd W 3 3
2-Feb-21 Oklahoma Muskogee 903 Indiana St 6 1
1-Feb-21 New York Rochester 400 block of Lyell Avenue 1 3
31-Jan-21 Illinois Chicago W Congress Pkwy and S Independence Blvd 0 4
30-Jan-21 New York Albany 200 block of Central Ave 1 4
29-Jan-21 Pennsylvania Mc Kees Rocks (Mckees Rocks) 824 Island Ave 2 3
28-Jan-21 Michigan Flint 1900 block of Tebo St 1 4
27-Jan-21 California Santa Ana 1614 S Standard Ave 0 4
25-Jan-21 District of Columbia Washington 1406 Good Hope Rd SE 1 4
24-Jan-21 Indiana Indianapolis 3540 Adams St 5 1
24-Jan-21 Nevada Las Vegas W Wilson Ave and H St 0 5
22-Jan-21 Kentucky Covington 217 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd 0 5
21-Jan-21 California Oakland 107th Ave and Apricot St 1 3
18-Jan-21 Pennsylvania Tobyhanna 960 PA-196 0 4
17-Jan-21 Arizona Phoenix 2340 W Northern Ave 0 5
17-Jan-21 Arizona Phoenix 2236 E University Dr 1 6
16-Jan-21 Illinois Kankakee 600 block of N Evergreen Ave 0 5
15-Jan-21 Pennsylvania Philadelphia 5000 block of N 10th St 0 4
11-Jan-21 Florida Miami 2491 NE 58th St 0 4
9-Jan-21 Illinois Evanston 100 Asbury Ave 6 2
9-Jan-21 Texas Houston 5828 Martin Luther King Blvd 1 3
7-Jan-21 District of Columbia Washington 1300 block of Columbia Rd NW 0 5
6-Jan-21 Texas Livingston 201 Maple Ln 2 2
6-Jan-21 Virginia Manassas 10010 Ellis Rd 3 3
4-Jan-21 Louisiana New Orleans 1600 block of N Galvez St 0 4
4-Jan-21 Florida Tampa 1225 S 78th St 0 5
4-Jan-21 Florida Fort Lauderdale (Lauderhill) 1828 NW 38th Ave 0 7
3-Jan-21 Oregon Gresham NE 181st Ave and NE San Rafael St 0 4
3-Jan-21 Texas Houston 2900 Travis St 1 4
3-Jan-21 Florida Miami 3632 NW 25th Ave 0 6
3-Jan-21 Louisiana Shreveport 6900 block of Jewella Ave 2 3
3-Jan-21 California Santa Barbara 1200 block of Liberty St 2 2
3-Jan-21 Florida Miami 10525 NW 24th Ave 0 8
1-Jan-21 Arkansas Fort Smith 3211 Towson Ave 0 7
1-Jan-21 Texas Amarillo 2650 Dumas Dr 1 3
1-Jan-21 Iowa Sioux City 2637 S Walker St 1 4
1-Jan-21 Illinois Galesburg 1000 block of Monroe St 0 4
133 MASS SHOOTINGS, TOTALS KILLED AND INJURED: 161 524