Arguing all sales at a long time gun show are legal, a Second Amendment group issued a challenge for their opponents to prove otherwise — backed up with a $10,000 pledge.
The county-run Del Mar Fairgrounds has for over three decades been the home of the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, a popular event held five times per year that sees thousands attend. However, in recent years the show has become the target of a campaign by local anti-gun advocates who are pressuring area officials to bar the event moving forward, citing a list of concerns that firearms were being sold without state-mandated background checks or 10-day waiting periods. The San Diego County Gun Owners organization last week said those allegations are just false.
“The fact is, every time the gun show comes to town, they march out a bunch of tired, old, misinformation that is not true,” said Michael Schwartz, SDCGO’s executive director in a press conference.
As such, the group is offering to donate $10,000 to the organization of a person’s choice — provided that individual coughs up proof of gun law violations such as undocumented sales in the parking lot without going through a federally licensed dealer, sales to minors, illegal machine guns changing hands, or not complying with California background check and waiting period requirements.
Opposing Schwartz’s call is a gun control group called NeverAgainCA, who told the Times of San Diego that the “challenge is a disingenuous fundraising scam which will never result in a payout,” arguing that state agencies and public venues should not host gun shows, attempting to tie the show to the Las Vegas mass shooting last fall that left 58 dead.
Additionally, gun show promoter Bob Templeton, who is tied to the Del Mar shows, has come under fire over coverage that he was in the past convicted of federal firearms violations involving shipping guns to Mormons in apartheid-era South Africa. Templeton’s daughter now administers the show.
“The gun shows are closely supervised by California Department of Justice and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department,” the senior Templeton previously told Guns.com. “There are no illegal or unlawful activities taking place at the gun show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.”
Elsewhere in the state, gun shows in Orange County and at the state-run Cow Palace in the Bay Area have been the target of increased scrutiny from local officials, although the law is on the side of promoters. In 1997, the U.S. 9th Circuit found that a Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ ban on selling guns at county-run venues to “avoid sending the wrong message to the community relative to support of gun usage,” violated the First Amendment rights of gun show organizers.