Glendale Gun Show operator tight-lipped on plans

The organizer of the Glendale Gun Show is declining to discuss his future plans after the City Council on Tuesday moved to ban gun sales from all city-owned property.

In an interview, Steve Friesen, the gun show’s promoter, declined to publicly discuss his feelings on the ban, saying only that he planned to be at the next City Council meeting when the draft ordinance returns for review.

“We still got a lot ahead of us in this whole process,” he said.

Meanwhile, city parks officials say they plan to wait until the ban is official before starting the process of finding alternate events to take the place of the gun show, which had a contract at the Civic Auditorium for three shows in 2013 and 2014.

The majority of City Council members on Tuesday said they favored banning gun sales on city property and asked the city attorney to come back with a draft ordinance. The move came after supporters and detractors of the gun show spoke for more than two hours in front of an overflow crowd at City Hall.

Officials expect to take four to six weeks to draft the ban.

The gun show discussion comes as state and federal lawmakers consider tightening gun regulations after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting last month in Newtown, Conn., in which a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 first-graders.

While council members said they would allow Friesen to operate the gun show already scheduled for March 2 and 3 at the Civic Auditorium, he has contracts for more shows at the venue through 2014 that would be impacted by the ban. On his website,, Friesen posted a reminder that “yes” the March event is still on.

And even with pending ban on gun sales on city-owned property, Friesen could still host future events at a private facility, such as the Hilton Glendale.

Community Services and Parks Director Jess Duran said his staff doesn’t plan to fill the August and November dates reserved by the gun show until the gun sales ordinance is finalized.

In 2012, the three gun shows in Glendale generated about $55,000 in rental and parking revenue, or 13% of the Civic Auditorium's total income that year. Other events at the auditorium have included a circus, cat shows and weddings.

“We haven’t begun to strategize,” Duran said.

National Rifle Assn. representatives have threatened litigation if the city moved forward with the ban, but City Atty. Mike Garcia has said that so long as the ordinance does not prevent people from having guns in their home, it will likely be held up in court.

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