Lawsuit against Nashville Fair Board over gun show ban dismissed

A gun show operator and state gun rights group saw their suit against the Metro Nashville Fair Board thrown out of court this week.

After hearing from a dozen local gun control advocates, Fair Commissioners voted 3-0 last December to refuse any new gun shows at their venue and is moved to cancel shows already booked more than 30 days out.

The operator of the largest show, Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife Show, which has been renting fair space since the 1970s, warned a lawsuit could be on the way if the city stops hosting gun shows, but the board refused to rethink its decision pending new rules for gun show operators. This led to Goodman and the Tennessee Firearms Association in April filing suit against Metro, citing Tennessee law preempting local regulation of firearm sales and contending the commissioners exceeded their authority in banning gun shows.

The board appealed to the court to dismiss the case and on Wednesday Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy agreed who, as noted by the Tennessean, held that the plaintiffs lacked standing and she could not force the fair board to enter into an agreement with them.

“I cannot find that there is a right to contract with Metro,” McCoy  said. “You can try to contract with Metro. You can be the best business person in the world, but there is no right that the courts can enforce to require Metro to contract with that person or that entity.”

Fair Commissioner Kenny Byrd welcomed the news saying, “Let’s be proud of taking common sense steps to avoid adding Nashville to the growing list of communities like Newtown and Orlando — communities that are crying out enough is enough.”

The TFA sent the following statement:

An appeal of the court’s ruling will be forthcoming once the court’s decision is entered.  In the meantime, the remaining gun shows scheduled for 2016 in Nashville @ “The Fairgrounds” will go forward as planned. (

Bill Goodman’s Gun & Knife Show has refused to compromise the rights and freedoms of its customers in furtherance of the Fair Board’s unabashed anti-gun agenda that led to the present ban.  The people of Nashville and Middle Tennessee have supported Bill Goodman’s Gun & Knife Show for decades, and the company remains committed to fight hard to hold its shows at the Nashville Fairgrounds as it has since the 1970s.

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