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    Crossroads of the West Gun Show returns to Orange County fairgrounds
    • January 19, 2024

    The Crossroads of the West Gun Show returns at the OC Fair & Event Center this weekend after a two-year hiatus during a legal battle with the state of California.

    The gun show had been held at the fairgrounds since 1996, drawing thousands of people to the event center. Gun shows, including this one, were banned at the OC fairgrounds starting in 2022 under state laws authored by Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine. The first version affected just Orange County, a later expanded version affected all state properties, including state-owned fairgrounds.

    A federal judge, however, blocked the state bans in October, saying California was violating the rights of gun sellers and possible buyers by prohibiting weapon purchases at the fairgrounds that can be bought legally at standard gun shops.

    Min argues fairgrounds are supposed to be family friendly places.

    “A gun show is anything but family-friendly,” Min said this week. “Why should the state be using state property for the distribution of guns that may likely lead to more gun violence in the communities where they’re sold?”

    Min said California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who defended the laws in court, has appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While he’s confident the ruling will be overturned, Min said there may be another gun show or two before that happens.

    OC Fair & Event Center spokesperson Terry Moore declined to comment due to the continuing litigation, but said there are more gun show dates anticipated throughout the year.

    Between 2016 and 2021, the fairgrounds received about $2.6 million in rental revenue from the gun show, except in 2020 when events were canceled because of the pandemic, according to information provided by the event center.

    Tracy Olcott, president of Crossroads of West, said it will be good to be back in Orange County this weekend.

    “We’ve been doing shows here in Orange County since the early ’90s, so we’ve been doing it for a very long time and to be gone for two years, then to be able to come back and do the same thing we’ve done before is pretty amazing,” Olcott said. “There’s a lot of excitement here from the vendors and people who are buying tickets to come to the show.”

    There’s a “strong need and desire” for gun shows in Orange County, Olcott said. “The people support it. We get tens of thousands of people here.

    “I think it’s really important that people can come to the gun show and they’re able to talk about how they feel about their Second Amendment rights,” she said. “We use our First Amendment to come here and discuss things that are important to us. And it’s really fantastic for that kind of community that we have here.”

    The show opens Friday, Jan. 19, and will run through Sunday, Jan. 21. Children ages 12 and younger can enter for free, those older have a $25 entrance fee.

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    ​ Orange County Register