On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to send a letter to the 23rd Agricultural District Regarding the Sale of Firearms asking them to prohibit the possession and sale of firearms at the Contra Costa Event Park in Antioch – formally the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds.
The item was brought forward by Supervisors Federal Glover and John Gioia.
During the meeting, Supervisor Glover explained he had been receiving calls after the massacres at schools and receiving calls relating to the gun show and sales at the county fairgrounds.
Supervisor Gioia added that five other counties in the Bay Area, who own their county fairgrounds, have banned gun shows (Alameda, Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo and Santa Clara).
“The view was to first ask them to ban gun sales and noddle over the letter,” said Gioia. “If they don’t agree what some other counties have looked at doing, and the legislature is actually getting state legislation to prevent gun shows. The legislature has passed that. Governor Brown vetoed it. We have a new governor. We’ll see what his position is on that issue.”
Gioia explained that because San Francisco County Fairgrounds are state owned property, the state legislator passed a bill to ban it at that location, however, Governor Brown vetoed it.
“What we thought we would start with is asking them by letter to ban gun shows at the county fair,” said Gioia.
Glover defended the action by stating they had received phone calls from individuals asking for this—including individuals who were candidates for office in the City of Antioch. Glover called it an opportunity to ask for the ban by permission before they ask for action.
Supervisor Candace Andersen called it an “interesting topic” because they do not have control over the fairgrounds and this is just a letter.
“I think we all recognize that we have a serious, serious issue of gun violence in this country, so banning a gun show, I don’t think that’s going to solve it. Under State law you can’t purchase weapons at a gun show. Certainly, you can get linked up with somebody who does sell weapons, but there are other things that take place at a gun show from what I understand. I don’t frequent them and I don’t own a gun. But nevertheless, people I know who do talk about the gun safety, gun lockers, other things that are promoted at a show,” explained Andersen. “Where I really would love to see us focusing as well. And, and I’m not going to oppose us. Sending the letter is similar to what we did when we brought in the Sandy Hook Promise where it’s not just talking about banning guns, but it’s getting people to step up to see something, say something, to try to help those who are mentally ill, which more often than not in these mass shooter shooting situations. It’s someone who shouldn’t have a gun but will leading up to it, saw the signs but didn’t intervene. We weren’t able to intercept someone in that situation. I think we need to do more to educate. I would love to see us do more with respect to writing game makers. You know, the violence which takes place in so many video games. Even on our television shows, I’ve stopped watching my favorite Hawaii five o. it’s just too violent.”
Andersen further highlighted she didn’t think this letter asking for a ban would make a big difference in saving lives but did make a statement that Contra Costa County wants to do everything it can to protect a community from gun violence.
“There is more we can do than just suggesting that gun shows not take place,” said Andersen.
Supervisor Diane Burgis said she would not oppose sending a letter but called the action “symbolic” since California in 1999 passed the broadest legislation to increase the oversight in gun shows.
“There is a waiting period, there is requirements of people before they can get a gun. And as a mom and a grandma. I worry about children accessing guns and people with mental health getting guns. And 1/3 of the suicides in our county are from guns. I worry about domestic abuse,” said Burgis. “There’s things that we can do to try to prevent people from getting that. But a legitimate background check. I would like to keep those pathways there.”
Burgis also stated she did not receive any requests from the school district, the city council or law enforcement to support this but stated she would go along with it.
Burgis further clarified her statement Tuesday night by stating the focus should not be on gun shows, but gun safety in general, especially at homes by protecting children from gaining access to guns and people with mental illness.
Gioia then explained that he believed part of the reason county’s have done this was because County Fairs are a family event.
“County Fairs are a place where it is viewed whether it is on county property or not, that there’s a quote county blessing county approval of this event,” said Gioia. “It’s sort of place where people come and socialize and see what the great things that are offered in our county. I think why many counties in this state and the majority of counties in the barrier frankly have been them on property that they own, that their county fairs is to send a message that we don’t want our County Fair adding on to the issue of, of gun violence and, and having gun shows. And yes, there’s symbolism here and I think it is a powerful statement.”
Glover agreed that it was a symbolic, but stated it was messaging.
“One of the things that we’ve been faced with in this nation for decades is the fact that gun violence continued to rise. Who are we to sit back and not try to contribute to that in whatever way we can to try to assure that that we’re doing our part to decrease it or to not sending the wrong messaging on a piece of property that’s located within Contra Costa.”
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff added that one thing she notices when a gun show is in town is all the sides that are everywhere.
“I think the letter, if nothing else is going to probably languish up at the state fair board and until governor elect Newsom is sworn in,” said Mitchoff. “They’re going to let it go that way, but that we’re on record and I think it is important.”
The motion was approved in a 5-0 vote.
Most recently, Antioch held a gun show in September and they have another show scheduled for Dec. 15-16 by Mountain Air Productions.