The parking lot is seen empty at the Cow Palace May 14, 2009, in Daly City. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Days after the latest in a long series of mass shootings across the United States -- an attack at a Texas high school that left 10 dead and 13 wounded -- two state lawmakers have proposed a ban on gun shows at Daly City's Cow Palace.
State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Phil Ting, both Democrats from San Francisco, announced the proposed ban Monday, joined by elected leaders and anti-gun-violence activists as well as students who have been demonstrating in recent months in favor of stricter gun laws.
"Given what happened yet again, on Friday in Texas, we all say enough. No more. We need fewer guns," Wiener said at a press conference.
The Cow Palace currently holds five gun shows per year, but Wiener and Ting's SB 221 would ban them beginning Jan. 1, 2020.
Wiener said some people in the Bay Area are "surprised, and frankly horrified" to learn about the gun shows. He said it doesn't make sense to continue having the gun shows "right in the heart of our community."
"We have an epidemic of gun massacres in this country," Wiener said. "Our country is awash in guns, including guns whose sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. We need to reduce the number of guns in this country, and particularly these guns that are only about killing people."
Wiener noted the Cow Palace has a contract to host gun shows through next year and the new legislation would avoid breaching those agreements. He said SB 221 has been co-authored by every legislator from both the state Assembly and Senate in both San Mateo and San Francisco counties.
Amirah Tulloch, a graduate of Jefferson High School in Daly City, praised the proposal during the press conference. She currently attends Skyline College and said she's been a leader at her school regarding gun issues and preventative gun measures. She also led a school walkout following Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on Valentine's Day that killed 17.
"The thing we hear from students over and over again regarding gun issues is that they're afraid," Tulloch said. "They're afraid that their campuses have become unsafe. They've shifted from learning environments to places where they're not even sure if they're going to survive the day. And it's because the government on the national level has not taken enough steps to show that they're for the one thing that we know works, which is preventing access to guns."
She added: "We're really glad that our state legislators have been taking steps to show that students are going to be safe in their schools, and we hope the national government will follow suit."
Ting noted that legislators have tried to shut down gun shows at the Cow Palace several times.
"These are unanimous calls for the Cow Palace to stop these gun shows. And these resolutions have been going back decades," Ting said. "This is not something that is just very recent. So if you listen to the communities, the communities surrounding the Cow Palace have asked for the gun shows to end."
Efforts to bar gun shows at the Cow Palace have failed three times before, most recently in 2013, when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have allowed gun shows at the facility only if the boards of supervisors in San Francisco and San Mateo counties agreed.
The Cow Palace does not fall under the jurisdiction of Daly City or San Mateo County authorities, and the building is operated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
In an April two-day event known as the Crossroads of the West Gun Show, the Daly City venue drew thousands of attendees and some protests led by San Francisco high school students. The next gun show at the Cow Palace is scheduled for June 9 and 10, with two more scheduled in September and November.
Gun show organizers told the San Francisco Chronicle that efforts to ban gun shows are misguided.
Cow Palace officials directed queries to the man who has run the venue’s gun shows for 32 years, Robert Templeton, co-owner of Utah’s Crossroads of the West Gun Shows. He said each of the failed legislative efforts was misdirected, and the current one is no better.
Rather than focusing on reducing the proximity and number of weapons, he said, “we need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, people who are too mentally ill to own them, and people who commit domestic violence.” Templeton also said the federal government should prosecute anyone who lies on a background check; more than 1 million people failed background checks over the past 20 years, according to the FBI.
“We have common ground on both sides,” Templeton said. “We all want to see this horrific gun violence stopped. We agree there. But in order to have a dialogue, we’ll have to be much less polarized than we are now.
“This recent senseless spate of school shootings has energized the people who would like to take away our gun rights, but we need instead to deal with the people who perpetrate violence and the potential perpetrators.”
California has some of the strictest gun laws on the books, and gun show sales must go through a licensed dealer. A 10-day waiting period means that no one can apply to purchase and leave with a firearm on the same day.