DEL MAR, Calif. - Dozens of residents on Tuesday made passionate pleas both in favor of and against having the gun show at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in the future. The residents brought their pleas to the 22nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors.
Former teacher and Del Mar resident Rosanne Holliday led the chorus of opposition. Two days after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Conn. in December, she posted a sign outside her house in Del Mar asking for an end to the gun show.
That was the beginning of a petition asking the board to ban the show and end future business with the company behind the show, Crossroads of the West Gun Shows.
"In the last 36 hours, we've collected over 750 signatures," said Holliday.
She handed the hundreds of signatures over the board.
"We're not trying to outlaw guns," said Del Mar resident Claire McGrail. "There's a difference between what's legal and what's appropriate."
McGrail said she had her family are frequent patrons of the Del Mar Fairgrounds' other events and she threatened to spend her money elsewhere if the board did not take action.
"I am going to have to reconsider coming to the fairgrounds if there are non-family friendly events like gun shows in the future," said McGrail.
Gun enthusiasts were equally represented at the board meeting. Thomas Stephen called the gun show in Del Mar the best gun show in the San Diego area.
"It's where law-abiding citizens go to shop for the tools they need to defend themselves from the bad guys," said Stephen.
The Ramona resident also said mass shootings could not be blamed on guns.
"Are these shootings staged?" said Stephen. "If so, by whom? The government wants weapons taken away from law-abiding citizens."
Bob Templeton, the owner of the Crossroads of the West Gun Shows, also addressed concerned citizens.
"We support their right to protest," he said. "That's their First Amendment right. We hope that they'll respect our Second Amendment right to continue to do our gun show here in Del Mar."
Templeton said there are undercover law enforcement agents at the show making sure background checks and 10-day waiting periods are enforced on every single gun purchase. 10News did its own investigation several years ago and found the law is being strictly followed.
No action was taken on Tuesday and the president of the board said he does not see anything changing in the future.
"We are a public agency and there is a strong legal argument that perhaps it would be against the law for us to discriminate and ban these shows," said Adam Day.