By Ted AYALA
Supporters of the long-running Glendale Gun Show were disappointed by the Glendale City Council’s decision on Tuesday to move forward with implementing an ordinance that would effectively ban the show within the city limits.
The ordinance in question, which had been suggested by Councilmember Rafi Manoukian in the wake of last year’s school shootings in Newtown, Conn., would prohibit the sales or possession of firearms on any public facility. Exemptions are made for police officers.
Adoption of the ordinance would render the Glendale Gun Show in violation of it. It would also move the city council to cancel its still active contract with the exhibition, which currently has five more shows – two this year; three more in 2014 – left on its contract.
The hearing for the ordinance’s adoption filled the city council with supporters and opponents of the ban. Heading them was Steve Friesen, the show’s operator, who “implored” the council to rethink the ban, saying that it would “only affect law-abiding citizens.”
His lawyer Sean Brady echoed that statement and added the threat of legal action against the city.
“These are things that need to be litigated,” he said. “The civic impact report mentions nothing of these litigation costs. [The] city report is lacking. I understand that there is a termination for convenience clause in the show’s contract. But that doesn’t give the city carte blanche to walk out of their obligations. It doesn’t work that way.”
He also cited several cases when similar bans were struck down by the courts.
“The tragic and senseless tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut leaves us aghast [at the] carnage,” said Tony Passarella. “But what we want to do is blame anything we can control. What we should do is blame the insanity that is built into the human condition.”
“I know we need money, but $38,000 isn‘t going to make or break us,” countered Eileen Young in reference to the revenue generated by the show. “It’s a real drop in the bucket. We’re better than that.”
“We’re not infringing on [people’s right] to bear arms,” said Councilmember Manoukian.
“What problem has arisen at the gun show that would cause me to remove it from the [Glendale Civic Auditorium]?” asked Councilmember Dave Weaver rhetorically. “In my 16 years in city council, nobody has written or spoken to me about the gun show. Where have [all these people] been all these decades? Not a single shooting or act of violence has been traced back to the show. There has been no negative impact on our schools. There haven’t even been problems with traffic flow. So since there is no factual reason to move it, I won’t. I hear a lot of the emotional pleas to remove the show. But they’re not based on fact.”
Councilmember Ara Najarian agreed adding that he dismissed the ordinance as a “knee-jerk reaction.”
“I don’t see how this [ordinance] affects anybody’s Second Amendment right,” said Councilmember Laura Friedman. “This property belongs to all of us and we should respect those in the community who don’t want it.”
Mayor Frank Quintero echoed her sentiments.
“There is the ability to purchase firearms on the Internet,” he said. “The notion that we’re precluding the right for people to bear firearms – I completely disagree with that. We’re not disarming citizens. I support the ordinance and hope that it will pass.”