SANTA CLARA, Calif. - A hotly debated plan to ban gun shows at the Santa Clara County fairgrounds has moved forward, but not without concerns from critics who say it would be a violation of their rights.
The county's board of supervisors voted Tuesday to explore an ordinance that would ban the possession or sale of firearms on county property, including the fairgrounds, which typically hosts two gun shows a year.
"This was sort of the first step that we needed to take in this process to make sure that the board was in agreement," says Supervisor Ken Yeager, who proposed the ban. "I was very heartened that it got a unanimous vote."
A handful of student activists from Prospect High School in Saratoga attended the board meeting and were encouraged by the board's decision.
RELATED: Santa Clara County supervisor proposes banning gun shows
"People from our local government are listening and also taking initiative to make change, and not just offering thoughts and prayers," said Prospect senior Daniel Voskoboyaik.
However, leaders of the Santa Clara County Libertarian Party say the county's efforts would be better focused elsewhere.
"What they should do is ban gun free zones, and let people protect students by letting teachers who are qualified and willing (to) actually carry a gun," says local party official Mark Hinkle.
RELATED: Bay Area students join national walkout in push for tighter gun control
The law firm representing the NRA and the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which co-sponsored the most recent gun show at the county fairgrounds in February, wrote to the board ahead of Tuesday's meeting.
"To date, we are unaware of a single instance of violence or injury occurring at a gun show on Santa
Clara County property," said attorney Matthew Cubeiro of Michel and Associates, P.C. "Any argument that California gun shows are under-regulated lacks any factual support and is without merit."
The county's legal department will now look at who should be exempt from the ordinance, including local law enforcement.
"There are other opportunities at other cities, other venues for gun owners who can certainly gather," says Yeager. "I just didn't believe it was appropriate to have it at the county fairgrounds."
County officials say the proposal itself could be ready for consideration by April or May.