Bill would require approval of gun shows at Cow Palace

Cow Palace (Dante Alighieri)
March 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Gun shows at the Cow Palace draw thousands of people, but a group of lawmakers and lawmen have set their sights on them and are now proposing a major change.

Rudy Corpuz of United Playaz is a street activist who's trying to stop the violence. He says stopping gun shows at the Cow Palace is a part of that effort.

"The guns in the Cow Palace and the guns on the street kill," he said.

A promotional video for Crossroads of the West Gunshows says it's the most popular gun show in America. When the show comes to the Cow Palace, the parking lots are always full and the lines are long.

In the past, there have been attempts to stop the gun shows, but they have all failed. The Cow Palace sits on state land, so local authorities have no power to ban them.

But that may end if State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, has his way. His resolution requires the boards of supervisors of both San Mateo and San Francisco counties to officially approve guns shows at the Cow Palace before they are held. Since both boards have already gone on record opposing them, if the bill becomes law, it's almost certain none will be held in the future.

"Let the decision making be closer to the people who are affected by the decisions," Leno said.

Leno gathered a wide array of supporters at his news briefing. All of them believe barring gun shows at the Cow Palace would reduce violent crime in the neighborhood.

"In the last six months, within two miles from this very location here, we have had 75 gun-related crimes," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said.

"Sandy Hook happens every day in the Bayview Hunters Point and Sunnydale and we're just here today to say enough is enough," San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen said.

Shawn Richard started Brothers Against Guns in the Bayview. His support for Leno's bill is personal.

"I lost two brothers to this in '95 and '99, both by gun violence," he said.

But National Rifle Association member Peter Buxton says Leno has it all wrong.

"Shutting down the gun shows will not turn violence around," he said. "We have much deeper causes of violence than Mr. Leno is apparently aware of. He is looking for a quick, easy solution."

The CEO of the Cow Palace says he understands the politics of guns, but wonders if it's right for the bill to single out the Cow Palace while ignoring other facilities that host gun shows.

Similar bills in the Legislature targeting gun shows at the Cow Palace have died in the past. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger even once vetoed one that passed.


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