A gun show promoter joined with a variety of pro-2A advocates to take the state of California to court over a law that forbids such popular events at state properties.
The 53-page suit, filed in a central California federal court last Friday, names a host of state officials from Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta on down as defendants. Brought by the promoter of the Crossroads of the West gun show and joined by pro-gun groups such as the Second Amendment Foundation and California Rifle & Pistol Association, it takes aim at SB-264, which was signed by Newsom last October.
The law bans any event that may lead to the sale of "any firearm, firearm precursor part, or ammunition" on the property or in the buildings that comprise the Orange County Fair and Event Center, a state-owned facility administered by a local Agricultural commission. Crossroads of the West has been conducting safe, family-friendly events in California for 30 years, and told Guns.com previously that their gun shows are as much about the First Amendment as the Second.
As detailed in last week's filing, the plaintiffs argued SB 264 not only restricts their ability to buy or sell ammunition, firearms, and parts for lawful purposes but also burdens their rights to engage in otherwise lawful speech in a public forum, effectively barring the unique types of "political, educational, and commercial speech" that takes place at a gun show.
"The state has been regulating gun show operations almost out of existence, and more restrictive than brick-and-mortar retail gun shops or even internet sales," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb in an email to Guns.com. “Now the California Senate Bill 256 ban amounts to a total deprivation of rights under the color of law, including the First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of assembly, and the 14th Amendment’s equal protection under the law."
The suit seeks a declaration that SB 256 violates the free speech rights of the plaintiffs as well as an order to prevent the state and county from enforcing the gun show ban, along with damages and attorneys’ fees.