Rose Ann Sharp | Crest Road
The recent successful grassroots effort to end gun shows at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is built upon the decades-long opposition of residents of Del Mar and nearby communities to gun shows held on state-owned property.
Volunteer activists, researchers and strategists combined their efforts under the banner of NeverAgainCA to end gun shows in Del Mar. This Del Mar model was successful at ending gun shows at the Cow Palace Fairgrounds in the San Francisco Bay area on April 16, 2019. A similar effort is underway in Ventura County.
One year and one day after the first public hearing on the gun show contracts at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the State Assembly passed AB 893 authored by Assemblyman Todd Gloria. The vote was a resounding 48-16 victory. The bill, expected to be passed by the State Senate and sent to the Governor for his signature by Fall 2019, would permanently ban the sale of firearms and ammunition at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Todd Gloria has stated that Assembly Bill 893 “is intended at removing the state’s complicity in the sale of guns and ammunition and reducing the proliferation of more guns in our neighborhoods with the sole objective of making our communities safer.”
On March 26, 2019, when AB 893 was introduced to the Public Safety Committee of the State Assembly, Del Mar resident Rose Ann Sharp, founder of NeverAgainCA, followed Todd Gloria’s introductory remarks and spoke about the strong community support for the bill, including the resolutions against gun shows adopted by the City Councils of Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Encinitas.
Dr. Alan Hargens from La Jolla followed her and spoke about the physical impact and trauma of gun violence. Two NRA lobbyists spoke against the legislation.
Eight NeverAgainCA activists briefly addressed the committee in support of the bill: Jennifer Lonbom, Sudeepto Roy, and Ira Sharp from Del Mar; from Solana Beach: Kathy Murphy, City Council Member Kelly Harless, and Robbie Glatt Harless, a student at Crest Canyon. Then Ellen Montanari from Encinitas and Simone Maclellan from Carlsbad spoke. The Committee voted 5-2 to pass the legislation.
After the hearing, NeverAgainCA split into task forces which visited the offices of many Assembly members, including some Republicans and Democrats who were considered to be on the fence, to encourage them to vote for the bill when it reached the Assembly floor. Later in the afternoon, the entire NeverAgainCA delegation under the leadership of Robbie Glatts Harless visited the offices of each Public Safety Committee member who voted in favor of AB 893 to thank them for their votes.
This grassroots effort was successful primarily because of the community support. On April 25, Todd Gloria reminded his colleagues to vote for AB 893 because: “my constituents want this legislation.”