By ALICIA ROBINSON | email@example.com | The Orange County Register
Starting next year, gun shows that used to occupy the OC Fair & Event Center several weekends a year will no longer be on the calendar.
State Sen. Dave Min’s bill to ban gun shows on the state-owned fairgrounds property in Costa Mesa was recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, and it takes effect Jan. 1.
Before that happens, there could still be one more gun show next month: fairgrounds officials have said Crossroads of the West – which has been holding events at the OC fairgrounds since 1996 – already had a possible November show on the booking calendar, although the fair’s Board of Directors has not yet approved a contract for the event.
The end of gun shows will mean a loss of revenue for the OC Fair & Event Center. Data from fairgrounds officials shows the events have brought in more than $7 million over the last 25 years, and sometimes they have grossed more than $1 million in a single year when parking, concessions and other ancillary income is included.
But some fair officials have said they believe with a little work, they can make that revenue some other way.
At a September meeting, board member Ashleigh Aitken suggested the fairgrounds should produce more of its own events, which is often more lucrative than renting out the property to other businesses and organizations.
“I have faith that they (fairgrounds staff) can replace the business, but it’s not going to happen overnight,” OC Fair & Event Center CEO Michele Richards told the board. “There is demand for this property.”
On Friday, Min said his legislation “will make our community safer” by reducing the sale of guns that could contribute to violence. “While the 2nd Amendment protects the right of Americans to bear arms, it does not require the state of California to participate in and profit off the sale of guns.”
Min also said he plans to renew efforts to ban gun shows on all state-owned property in the next legislative session. His recently signed bill originally covered all state property, including numerous state fairgrounds, but he has said it got pared down in an Assembly committee without his consent.