California Goes After Gun Shows

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posted on October 20, 2021
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Gage Skidmore courtesy Flickr

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) recently signed legislation targeting law-abiding citizens, specifically gun shows, while doing nothing to address the rise in violent crime we’ve seen over the past year.

The bill, S.B. 264, “prohibits officers, employees, operators, lessees, or licensees of the 32nd District Agricultural Association from entering into any agreement to allow for the sale of any firearm, firearm parts, or ammunition on property that comprise the [Orange County] Fair and Event Center, or properties in Orange County and Costa Mesa that are owned, leased, operated, or occupied by the District,” as reported by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA).

Transfers of firearms at gun shows in California must be processed through a licensed dealer, and are subject to a background check. For that matter, all transfers of firearms in California—whether at a gun show, a gun store, or between private citizens—are subject to the same requirement. In reality, this is just another blatant action that restricts the exercise of Second Amendment rights by cynical politicians who wish to portray gun shows as yet another bogeyman that must be eliminated.

“This imposes a one-size-fits-all restriction to prevent officials from deciding how to use venues. In addition, this prevents businesses from renting taxpayer-funded venues for lawful activities,” wrote NRA-ILA.

Of course, none of this actually addresses the real cause of violent crime that has surged in the past year. Gun shows, it should be said, are not the cause of violent crime, but none of that matters to the likes of Newsom and politicians of his ilk.

According to John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, “Multiple surveys done of criminals find that virtually no criminals obtain their guns from gun shows. In 1991 and 1997, only 0.6% and 0.7% of criminals obtained guns from gun shows. [A] 2016 survey conducted during the Obama administration found that number was still only 0.8%.”

Despite the fact that a statistically insignificant number of firearms obtained at a gun show are used in crime, FBI data shows that 2020 saw more than a 5% increase in violent crime—with the homicide rate rising nearly 30%–as riots plagued the nation and anti-law-enforcement rhetoric abounded. Predictably, guns have been blamed by the Biden administration, and the recent action from Newsom is just another offshoot of this misguided and dishonest train of thought.

It’s no wonder that over 21 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm last year, with more than 8 million of those estimated to be for first-time gun owners. Second Amendment-supporting Americans know gun shows are not to blame for crime—violent criminals are—but that hasn’t stopped politicians like Newsom from deceptively labeling and targeting them anyway.

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