San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, recently demonstrated countywide appeal for the Crossroads of the West gun show, attended by tens of thousands of Southern California residents at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, with a stack of 30 letters written by local elected city officials expressing support for the gun show.
“We have letters from mayors and city council members from across the county, cities like Santee, Chula Vista, Lemon Grove, Oceanside, Escondido, Poway, San Marcos, Vista, Coronado, El Cajon and the city of San Diego,” said Wendy Hauffen, an SDCGO member, who spoke at a recent fairgrounds board meeting. “The letters say different things in different ways, but they all agree that the gun show should be allowed to operate at the publicly-owned fairgrounds without any new, onerous restrictions, such as age limitations, ridiculous metal detectors or bans on legal weapons like semi-automatic rifles.
The letters, addressed to the nine-member, 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, were written by several city mayors, including Bill Wells of El Cajon, Sam Abed of Escondido, Peter Weiss of Oceanside, Jim Desmond of San Marcos and Richard Bailey of Coronado.
Also, letters were from members of local city councils throughout San Diego County, including Rob McNelis of Santee, Kristine Alessio of La Mesa, Matt Mendoza of Lemon Grove, John Masson and Mike Morasco of Escondido, Jerome Kern and Jack Feller of Oceanside, Kristal Jabara of San Marcos, Mike Diaz of Chula Vista, Chris Cate of San Diego, John Mullin of Poway and John Aguilera, Amanda Young Rigby and John Franklin of Vista.
“These letters also show that elected officials from across the county agree that the fairgrounds is a regional, state-owned asset and the city of Del Mar should not dictate to you how the fairgrounds should be used,” Hauffen said. In March of this year, the Del Mar city council approved a resolution calling for the fairgrounds directors to end the popular gun show.
The letters from elected officials, collected by SDCGO, were submitted to the fairgrounds board at its Aug. 14 meeting. Fairgrounds board members, appointed by the governor, oversee activities at the publicly owned facility. The gun show has been held at the state-owned fairgrounds five times a year for the past 29 years.
Among the comments in the letters from elected city officials:
— “The fairgrounds are a state-owned regional asset, which means that the facilities are there to serve all residents of San Diego County,” wrote Bill Wells, mayor of El Cajon.
— “No city or group should be able to dictate what goes on at the fairgrounds. The fairgrounds are for people from all over San Diego County to enjoy and use,” wrote Mike Diaz, deputy mayor of Chula Vista.
— “In today’s social media-driven world, more people are given platforms by which to case disparaging remarks about an organization or a show that they don’t even truly know about or have never attended. I see this happening a lot with regards to the Crossroads of the West gun show,” wrote Rob McNelis, vice mayor of Santee.
— “Many District 6 residents, along with thousands of San Diegans, have expressed interest in continued patronage of the Crossroads of the West show. The Del Mar Fairgrounds provides a convenient and sizeable location that allows the Crossroads of the West to host nearly 100 businesses, many of which are located in San Diego,” wrote Chris Cate, San Diego city councilman, 6th district.
— “The decision before you may seem difficult; however, it is just a routine business decision. If the operator has honored their contracts for three decades, then there should be no issue in renewing their contract once again,” wrote Richard Bailey, mayor of Coronado.
— “As a responsible gun owner myself, I can attest to the commitment of people like myself to gun safety. Problems with gun violence are not made better, and are arguably made worse, by limiting access to guns by responsible citizens,” wrote John Mullin, deputy mayor of Poway.
— “Thousands of San Diego County residents, including my constituents, attend and enjoy the gun show every time it is in town. It is an important part of San Diego’s history and culture,” wrote Sam Abed, mayor of Escondido.
— “As your mission statement says, the fairgrounds is a `public assembly facility’ providing a wide range of activities and events `for the benefit of all’ San Diego County residents. I submit that no one city has the power to summarily dictate the use of this facility,” wrote Amanda Young Rigby of Vista.
— “I have been to the show several times over the years and found it to be very educational and information as to the ever-changing rules and regulations that are enacted by our state and federal governments,” wrote Jerome Kern of Oceanside.
Founded in 2015, the San Diego County Gun Owners is a registered political action committee (FPPC ID #1379388) and advocacy organization focused on organizing the gun industry and community and protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. With a membership exceeding 1,000 individuals, the PAC provides news and information on new gun laws and Second Amendment advocacy. Its sponsored events include gun safety classes, small gun shows, sporting clay shoots, social gatherings and pistol, rifle and shotgun experiences taught by professional instructors. For more information, visit www.sandiegocountygunowners.com.