After 20 years at the Glendale Civic Auditorium, the Glendale Gun Show has been shown the door by the city’s government. In a 3-2 vote, the Glendale City Council approved a measure that terminated the group’s contract with the city and banned the sale of firearms and ammunition on city property.
Mayor Frank Quintero cast his vote in favor of the ban along with Councilmembers Rafi Manoukian and Laura Friedman. Voting against the bill were Councilmembers Ara Najarian and Dave Weaver. The bill was originally proposed by Manoukian in December.
The Glendale Gun Show has operated at the Civic Auditorium since 1992. Annually, the city draws approximately $38,000 in revenue by hosting the show.
Pressure has been put on the city council to act in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings that left 27 people dead this past December. Opponents of the show argue that the venue is in close proximity to schools and is a public safety threat.
During the March 19 vote, Mayor Quintero expressed the need for Glendale’s government to control commerce on public land.
The most vocal opposition came from the Coalition for a Better Glendale, a local group that formed in response to the recent increase in gun violence. The group is dedicated to more strict gun control and has lobbied the city government to evict the Glendale Gun Show since early this year.
Deborah Dentler, a Glendale resident and member of the Coalition for a Better Glendale, voiced her opposition in a statement released by the group.
“Truckloads of live ammo are sold each day at the Glendale Gun Show, no background checks needed,” said Dentler. “We are determined to make sure there are no more gun shows held on buildings and land owned by we, the people, of Glendale. These are our buildings, paid for and maintained by our tax dollars.”
In his dissent of the measure, Councilmember Ara Najarian called the ban a “knee-jerk reaction” to recent events such as Sandy Hook. The ruling faced opposition from the Glendale Gun Show leadership as well as from the National Rifle Association, both of whom have threatened litigation.
The ban is set to be enacted in 30 days, upon which the gun show’s contract with the city is expected to be terminated. The Glendale Civic Auditorium was set to host five more shows through 2014.
A replacement venue for the show has not been announced.
After the ruling, the group’s website announced, “At this time we do not have any shows scheduled for the Glendale Gun Show in the Glendale area. Thank you for all of your support.”
The ruling comes on the same day as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) announcement that a gun control bill set to be heard before the Senate will not include a measure restricting assault weapons.