Ventura Fairgrounds at the crossroads of the gun debate


Vendors at the event sold guns, fishing equipment, political memorabilia and food. Photo by: Alejandro Hernandez

Alejandro Hernandez

Crossroads of the West gun show comes to Ventura amid controversy

On Oct. 23 and 24, Crossroads of the West Gun Shows held a gun show at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. The family owned company, based out of Utah, holds gun shows in four states, Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

California State Senator Monique Limon and State Assemblyman Steve Bennett plan to introduce legislation in 2022 to ban the sale of firearms at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Limon and Bennett issued a joint statement. According to Limon’s office they said, “After hearing from many constituents and local governments, we are announcing legislation for the upcoming legislative year to enhance public safety by banning gun shows at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. We believe the state should not be in the business of using state property to facilitate the sale of dangerous firearms.”


Show manager Rob Templeton said, “It has certainly become harder to hold these events over the years. We have sued in the past those who have tried to further restrict our events.” In 2020, after gun show prohibition at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (California), a federal judge ruled that the fairgrounds had to pay Crossroads of the West Gun Shows half a million dollars. 

Sophomore Maeve Searcy said, “If I was making the decision [whether to allow gun shows at the fairgrounds or not], I wouldn’t want it there because it makes the community feel unsafe.”

Templeton believes that gun shows should be viewed as conventions, similar to a car show. He said, “People like to get together, people that have a similar kind of mindset. People who are interested in the second amendment outdoor things like hunting and things like that.”

According to Crossroads of the West, “Anyone who wishes to purchase a firearm at a gun show must pass a federal background check and wait the mandatory 10 day waiting period. That is to say that THERE ARE NO FIREARMS THAT LEAVE A GUN SHOW. The vast majority of people speaking out against gun shows have never been to a gun show, have no idea what a gun show is all about and repeat incorrect and/or untrue things that they have heard others say.”

Junior Joseph Wronkiewicz said, “I have been to gun shows and know for a fact that background checks are required for purchases made. At most, they are a place for people looking to own firearms to look at what features they would want in a gun and possibly find guns being sold at more affordable prices when they would normally be outside that person’s reach.” 

Wronkiewicz said, “We learned from the prohibition of alcoholic beverages that banning items that can be illegally produced with relative ease will often only increase the influence of any criminal groups involved in those illegal markets. It is also worth noting the tendency of totalitarian governments to disarm their citizens during their rise to power.”

According to a poll of 111 VHS students, 62 percent of students (69 responses) disagreed with gun shows being held at the fairgrounds, while 37 percent (42 responses) agreed. Crossroads of the West has continued to maintain their fight against state and local officials’ attempts to ban gun shows on public fairgrounds.