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Fairgrounds to increase gun show security

Deputies to patrol one of several events that bring in $600,000 annually to the OC Fair & Event Center.

January 23, 2013|By Bradley Zint

It's likely to be business as usual, but with some increased security, for this weekend's Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Orange County Fairgrounds, organizers said.

The show, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, happens multiple times a year at the 150-acre facility in Costa Mesa.

The fairgrounds, whose relationship with the Utah-based company spans nearly 25 years, annually receives some $600,000 from the shows in revenue from parking, rent and food and beverages, said Jerome Hoban, chief executive of the O.C. Fair & Event Center.

"We're increasing the security because these gun shows are wildly popular, and we want to make sure it's a secure and safe event," he said. "With more people, it's more security, and that's with any event."

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Gun shows are in the sights of local governments since a school shooting in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 children Dec. 14 and accidents at three gun shows left five people injured Jan. 19, Gun Appreciation Day. The Glendale City Council took the first step toward banning gun shows Tuesday and moved toward banning all firearm sales on city-owned land.

Also motivated, however, are gun enthusiasts who fear new regulations; they are stocking up on ammunition and guns and vowed to fight the Glendale proposal. The recent Ontario Gun Show, also sponsored by Crossroads, was packed with enthusiasts.

"I'll tell you right now, Obama is the No.1 gun salesman in the nation," one attendee told the Los Angeles Times. "The NRA should give him an award."

Unlike Glendale, there are no plans to discontinue the Costa Mesa event, according to members of the Fair Board, who approve contracts and vendors at the fairgrounds.

"The California gun laws are some of the best laws in the nation," said Board Vice Chairman Stan Tkaczyk. "I'm very comfortable for the gun show being there and for the other ones we've booked."

"They do a fantastic job, and I hope they continue," said Fair Board Member David Ellis.

The state-run fairgrounds has its own on-site security and it contracts with the Orange County Sheriff's Department for supplemental help.

Four deputies are planned to patrol the show, in addition to the two at the fairgrounds' weekly Orange County Market Place, said Sheriff's Department Sgt. Scott Baker.

"We're not foreseeing any problems," he said. "I know there is a heightened sense with all the stuff going on, but we haven't addressed it any further than that."

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