Last month, California became the first state to prohibit the sale of firearms and ammunition on state property, a move that will put an end to gun shows on county fairgrounds, where they are often held. Gun safety activists have long argued that the shows perpetuate gun violence and lead to illegal firearm sales, Stateline reports. While California has the nation's strictest gun laws, by allowing gun shows on its property, the state still was in the business of gun distribution, said state Sen. Dave Min, who sponsored the bill that was supported only by fellow Democrats. The measure was part of a broad gun safety package that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in July. Last year, California lawmakers banned firearm sales on public property in Orange County. Officials in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Mateo counties had previously banned the sale of firearms and ammunition at gun shows at public fairgrounds and other county-run event centers within their respective communities.
For decades, gun violence researchers have linked gun shows with firearms used in crimes, as unofficial transactions between attendees often skirted national laws that require background checks on purchases from federally licensed vendors. Recently, the proliferation of untraceable parts for “ghost guns” sold at gun shows has added another layer of concern. While a handful of states regulate gun shows, often by requiring background checks on all purchases or setting a minimum age for event entry, California is the first to put an end to shows on state property. The new law is “disappointing” for gun owners, said Rob Templeton of Crossroads of the West, a Utah-based company that will run 50 gun shows this year throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Utah. He said it also ignores the strict laws that already governed gun shows in California. All firearm transactions at California gun shows must go through a federally licensed dealer, meaning all purchases are subject to a background check and 10-day waiting period. California also bans private transactions in parking lots outside gun shows. Gun show promoters also are subject to a background check by the state’s Department of Justice.