Gun advocates pack City Council meeting to oppose proposed ban on gun show

Dozens of gun advocates packed the City Council chambers in Glendale Tuesday night to oppose a proposed ban on a long-time gun show at the Civic Auditorium.

A National Rifle Assn. representative called the proposal “political grandstanding” and a “solution looking for a problem,” but city officials still plan to discuss banning the Glendale Gun Show next week.

“I submit to you that this ordinance and many other ordinances that I’ve seen recently do nothing to save lives,” said NRA spokesman H. Paul Payne.

Councilman Rafi Manoukian initially floated the proposal last month, citing the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people, including 20 children.

While gun show proponents “made a very compelling case,” Manoukian said by phone Wednesday that he believes gun shows don’t belong near a school—the Civic Auditorium is across the street from Glendale Community College—or on city property.

“It just sends the wrong message to our kids if the city is supporting gun shows on our property,” he said.

The show takes over the Civic Auditorium three weekends a year. In 2012, it brought in about $54,000 to the city— or a significant amount of the revenue generated for the aging venue as of November, according to a city report.

Roberta Medford, a Montrose resident, said the ban is an opportunity for Glendale to support more gun responsibility.

“There is no problem with access to guns in California, even with our fairly stringent gun laws,” Medford said. “There is absolutely no reason for the city of Glendale to feel obligated to make gun access any easier.”

Resident Carlo Hakoupian pointed out that many thought the defunct Pomona gun show on Los Angeles County property was harmless until bank robbers involved in a North Hollywood shootout in 1997 bought weapons from the event.

After officials banned gun shows on county-owned property in 1999, they were sued. The county eventually agreed to pay $1.6 million to settle two lawsuits in 2003.

But while Manoukian has his supporters, they were far outnumbered by gun advocates who spoke for nearly an hour at the City Hall meeting.

They contend the event is more than an avenue for guns and ammo. It’s a family affair where everything from beef jerky and “I Love Lucy” lunch pails to jewelry and tools are also for sale.

“We do a disservice to the memory of the victims by passing ordinances that just make us feel good,” said resident Lawrence Lem. “We should pass something that actually makes a difference.”

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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