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Cow Palace bans gun shows

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Lawmakers say they intend to wrest venue from state body

Photo by Shutterstock

Sacramento lawmakers have been trying to get gun shows run out of the Cow Palace for years. On Tuesday, the venue’s Board of Directors beat them to the punch and voted to stop the decades-old practice of their own initiative.

The seven-person Cow Palace board—featuring five representatives from San Francisco, one from Atheron, and one from Woodside—oversees “entertainment and events to serve the needs and reflect the cultural diversity of the community” at the state-owned venue.

The board unanimously voted against renewing its current contract with Crossroads of the West, which claims to be the largest gun show in America. No member of the public spoke in favor of the gun shows at Tuesday’s meeting, according to CBS SF.

Crossroads’s agreement with the Cow Palace extends through 2020. The show has dates set up for June, September, and November of this year, but November will be its last Cow Palace outing.

Gun show organizers have not returned requests for comment. In the past, manager Rob Templeton told Curbed SF that he believes his shows are popular in the region despite disapproval from political bodies.

The item at Tuesday’s meeting specified that “in no way shall be taken to indicate that the board has found there to be any improprieties on the part of the promoters of the past gun show,” with directors assuring the public that no crime was ever connected with Cow Palace shows.

In the past, the San Mateo Board of Supervisors voted to oust firearms from the venue. Former Gov. Jerry Brown twice vetoed state legislation that would have done the same.

The likes of State Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco and State Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo are currently advancing another bill, SB 281, that would have made another bid at it.

Because the Cow Palace is state owned, only a state body—in this case, its own board of directors—could enforce such a rules change.

Hill and Wiener’s bill would also transfer control of the Cow Palace to local bodies.

Wiener said in a Tuesday statement that they will continue to push the bill, declaring “Today’s decision to end the gun shows, while welcome, does not change the need for fundamental change at the Cow Palace.”

[Update: Crossroads of the West Manager Templeton told Curbed SF via email, “I would love to have Senator Weiner [sic] or anyone else explain what laws have been broken by hosting a gun show at the Cow Palace.”

Templeton says that gun show organizers are “disappointed that the board voted to ban future gun shows, especially considering the fact that we have been doing shows there for more than 30 years with no negative incidents.”]