Glendale is poised to make a ban on gun shows on city property officials tonight despite a threat by the National Rifle Assn. to file a legal challenge.
A majority of the five-member City Council expressed support for the ban amid strong backing from a group of residents who say the gun shows at the Civic Auditorium send the wrong message that Glendale facilitates weapons sales in a world changed by a spate of mass shootings.
Opponents to the ban note that there have been no public safety issues reported over the years, prompting accusations that the push is merely an emotional response to national headlines, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 27 people, including 20 first-graders, dead.
Dozens of protesters on either side of the issue demonstrated outside the Glendale Gun Show on March 2.
When the ordinance was introduced last week, NRA spokesman H. Paul Payne said the ordinance could be “a gift that keeps on giving,” referring to the potential financial awards the organization could extract via a lawsuit.
But city officials say banning the gun show from city property doesn’t preclude the event’s operators from moving to a private facility, such as a hotel.
The ordinance blocks the possession or sale of guns at all city parks and facilities, but exempts public right-of-ways, such as sidewalks and streets.
Councilmen Ara Najarian and Dave Weaver have publicly stated their opposition to the ban – calling it a “kneejerk” and “emotional” reaction – but it is expected to be approved on a 3-2 vote tonight when it comes back for the formal rollcall.
If passed, the ordinance is expected to take effect on April 18, after which city officials plan to cancel contracts with Glendale Gun Show operators, who have reserved five more shows through November 2014 at the Civic Auditorium.
In 2012, three gun shows in Glendale generated about $55,000 in rental and parking revenue, or 13% of the auditorium's total income that year.
The City Council meets tonight at City Hall at 6 p.m.
--Jason Wells and Brittany Levine, Times Community News