LA Supervisors To Hold Final Vote On Gun Show Ban

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Los Angeles ( - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote again next week on a controversial plan to ban the sales of guns and ammunition at the county Fairplex in Pomona and at other county venues.

The vote, scheduled for Tuesday, is needed to fully enact the ban, which will go into effect 30 days later.

Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors voted to ban the sale of guns and ammunition on county-owned or leased property, despite protests by organizers who have gun shows scheduled at county facilities this year.

The measure, introduced by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, was approved on a narrow 3-2 vote. Joining Yaroslavsky in support of the ban were Supervisors Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Gloria Molina. Opposing votes were cast by Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe.

Yaroslavsky said the measure was drafted at his request last week after a recent report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms described gun shows as "essentially a shopping mall for illegal weapons' distribution."

According to the report, at least three weapons acquired or possessed by bank robbers during the deadly 1997 North Hollywood shootout were purchased by the robbers at a gun show on county property.

Yaroslavsky said the vote was a "great victory" for public safety, but Antonovich criticized the measure as an "excuse to usurp the rights of those who don't break the law."

"Gun violence has ravaged this country," Yaroslavsky added. "To sit back and do nothing . . . is to be complicit with what is going on."

Organizers of the Great Western Gun Show, held every year for 31 years, the past 22 at Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in the city of Pomona, say their event attracts more than 100,000 people and pumps $9 million into the local economy.

The gun show's president, Karl Amelang, told that less than 10 percent of the show's 5,300 tables have modern firearms for sale, and accused Yaroslavsky of taking advantage of recent tragedies to "advance his own agenda and seek publicity at the expense of others who have committed no crime and who are conducting a legal business."

"We will now get into the litigation aspect of this," said Amelang. "We have no alternative. [The ban will] destroy the Great Western show as it exists."