Cow Palace Gun Shows Bill Heads to Gov. Brown

SB 475 Closes Loophole in Current Law That Allows Firearms and Ammunitionto be Sold at the Cow Palace Without Local Input

SACRAMENTO – Legislation that calls for local control over gun shows at the state-owned Cow Palace is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Desk. Senate Bill 475 closes a loophole in current law that allows firearms and ammunition to be sold at the Cow Palace without local input. The bill, authored by Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, requires the boards of supervisors from both the County of San Mateo and the City and County of San Francisco to pass a resolution supporting a gun show at the Cow Palace before such an event could be held.


“For years, residents, community organizations and elected leaders from the neighborhoods surrounding the Cow Palace have asked to have a voice in the decision to hold gun shows in their backyards, but they have been ignored,” said Sen. Leno, D-San Francisco. “Meanwhile, firearms related crimes persist in these communities, tearing apart the lives of innocent families who reside in the surrounding area. This proposal gives local communities a say in determining whether they want gun shows in their neighborhoods, especially when they live in daily fear of gun violence.”


The Cow Palace is located partly in the City and County of San Francisco and in Daly City (San Mateo County). It is situated directly across from the Sunnydale public housing project and close to the communities of Visitacion Valley, Bayview-Hunters Point and the Mission District. Many of the homicides and gun seizures reported in the City and County of San Francisco occur in these communities.


“The impacts that senseless gun violence has on our communities can be devastating,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “We have been working for years on the local level to do everything possible to limit unlicensed access to firearms and ammunition in an effort to address this violence. This legislation will give San Francisco residents a needed voice in deciding the activities that go on in our own backyard.”


In the past, the San Francisco and San Mateo Boards of Supervisors have unanimously adopted resolutions calling on the California Legislature to end gun shows at the Cow Palace. While other counties across the state have banned gun shows at county-owned facilities with local ordinances, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties are unable to do so at the Cow Palace because it is owned and operated by the state Department of Agriculture’s Division of Fairs and Expositions.


“I am absolutely delighted with the action taken today by the Assembly regarding SB 475,” said Daly City Vice Mayor David Canepa. “Through Senator Leno’s strong leadership, persistence and consensus building in the Legislature, we are one step closer to making our own decisions at a local level regarding gun shows at the Cow Palace. This legislation if signed into law, will finally give us the local control we have wanted for the last 20 years.”


Senator Leno has authored two previous bills that would have banned gun shows at the Cow Palace. The most recent bill, SB 585, introduced in 2009, was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Gov. Brown has until Oct. 13 to take action on SB 585.


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