Bill to ban gun shows won’t impact Solano County Fairgrounds
State-owned property onlyVallejo 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.