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Councilman pushes for gun show ban in Glendale

December 20, 2012 | 10:59 am

Gun show in Glendale in 2006. Credit: Times Community News

Citing the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., Glendale Councilman Rafi Manoukian suggests taking steps to ban gun shows at the city’s Civic Auditorium.

It’s a move he’s tried before, first in 2006, when he unsuccessfully pushed to ban gun shows at the venue outright. But now, gun sales — particularly of assault-style weapons — have become a political flashpoint after 26 people, including 20 first-graders, were shot to death last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School by a lone gunman.

The Glendale Gun Show takes over the Civic Auditorium three weekends a year, raking in tens of thousands of dollars in rental and parking revenue for the city. For 2012, the shows generated $54,473, according to the city.

“It’s always been on my mind,” Manoukian said Tuesday. “At this point, we have to take a step.”

This time, Manoukian is proposing city officials ban the sale of firearms within 1,000 feet of Glendale Community College, which would effectively prohibit gun sales across the street at the auditorium.

With Mayor Frank Quintero in his corner, he has the backing to put the issue on the City Council agenda, but getting majority support for the ban may not be easy.

When he was mayor in 2006, Manoukian tried to prohibit gun sales on city properties, but the proposal never garnered the support needed to bring it up for a vote.

The next gun show is scheduled for the weekend of March 2, according to the organization’s website.

Councilman Ara Najarian called the suggestion a “superficial” fix, adding he wasn’t convinced that banning a gun show would curb crime.

“Somebody needs to make the connections to me on how banning the gun show … will go toward achieving those goals,” Najarian said after the city meeting.

A group of California lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a series of gun-control proposals, including tougher gun permits, background checks for anyone who wants to buy bullets and closing a loophole in the state's assault-weapons ban.

Steve Friesen, a Glendale Gun Show spokesman, said in an email that while “our hearts are broken over the tragedy” in Connecticut, his organization “has been promoting gun shows in Glendale for more than two decades.” All transactions, he added, are in compliance with local, state and federal laws.

The gun show tends to feature antiques and collectibles rather than military-style weapons, according to the 2006 city report.

Still, the report also states that banning gun sales on city-owned properties would send a message that Glendale “will not in any way contribute to the possibility that a firearm sold or possessed on city property may be used to commit a crime.”

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-- Brittany Levine, TCN

Photo: Gun show in Glendale in 2006. Credit: Times Community News

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