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Gun show operator sues Del Mar Fairgrounds over moratorium

Posted at 2:46 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 20:57:17-05

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — The operator of the Crossroads of the West Gun show has filed a federal lawsuit against the Del Mar Fairgrounds over its recent decision not to renew the show's contract after 35 years.

The Del Mar Fairgrounds board voted 8-1 in September to place a moratorium on the gun shows until it came up with clearer guidelines, including addressing safety concerns and possibly raising the age of participants.

The suit, filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleges first amendment violations and seeks an injunction, plus compensation for loss of business. The show's operator, B&L Productions, and San Diego gun show attendees and businesses are listed as the plaintiffs.

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"The discrimination is based on irrational public policies that are based on flawed reasoning and dubious conclusions relating to gun show operations and gun shows' impact on public safety," the complaint says. "The fantasy that Defendants must impose a moratorium while they 'conduct a study' is an admission that they currently have no reliable, valid, admissible evidence that gun shows are a source of any public safety concerns."

Rose Ann Sharp heads the group, which pushed to end the gun shows at the fairgrounds. She called the board's moratorium a common sense decision.

"We don’t believe that state owned property should be used for the profit of sale of guns and ammunition flooding our communities," she said.

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Tiffany Cheuvront, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said there has been no contact with the fairgrounds since it said it would study gun shows.

"It’s a public venue that’s operated by the state, and so because it’s a government entity it cannot discriminate arbitrarily against one group when it's not against other groups," she said.

A spokeswoman for the fairgrounds declined to comment. A court date has not yet been set.