"I think it's been proven over and over again, you're the first or last line of defense," said the San Mateo gun collector, a large collection of rifles surrounding him Thursday. "The gun has been blamed for lots of things, but they have done more good than harm as far as preserving the life of a good citizen."
Krause, owner of Krausewerk Collectibles on 21st Avenue, was reacting to new legislation that would ban the sale of guns and ammunition at the state-owned Cow Palace in Daly City.
On Thursday, Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris met in front of the historic venue to announce the proposed bill, expected to be considered by the Legislature in January.
This weekend, the Crossroads of the West Gun Show is expected to bring in 5,000 people.
The measure mirrors legislation former Sen. Jackie Speier, a Hillsborough Democrat, introduced in 2004, but failed on the state Assembly floor by three votes, Leno said.
Newsom and Harris said banning gun sales at the Cow Palace will complement their city's gun-control law signed on Aug. 1, which prohibits the possession and sale of firearms on city property.
"Gun shows at the Cow Palace threaten our most vulnerable residents," Newsom said in a statement Thursday. "Last week, when we enacted strict new gun laws, we made it clear that we will not stand by and watch as illegal guns proliferate in our city. Today, we are advancing our anti-gun efforts even more with this new legislation."
Because the Cow Palace is owned
and managed by the state Department of Food and Agriculture's Division of Fairs and Expositions, state legislation is needed to change any laws about its use.
San Francisco reports that its gun violence is on the rise, with 85 percent of all homicides committed with guns over the last three years, compared with only 60 percent in 2001.
Cow Palace General Manager Walter Haub defended the gun show, and he refutes allegations that illegal gun sales have occurred in the parking lot during the event.
"There are no such reports as to arrests or convictions given to my office since I came to the Cow Palace two years ago," Haub said. "If such transactions have taken place, I would hope that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies would have communicated to us so that we would have been aware of these issues."
Likewise, Bob Templeton, owner of The Crossroads of the West Gun Show, said there's "no corroborating evidence" from the Daly City police, the state Department of Justice or the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms about illegal gun sales.
"It's quite a surprise to me that Mayor Newsom has no evidence at any level that any of these things have been happening," Templeton said.
Leno said he heard that illicit gun sales have occurred outside the Cow Palace from Shawn Richard of Brothers Against Guns in San Francisco, and that sometimes sales flow into the nearby Sunnydale public housing project.
But even if he had been told no illegal activity was going on, the bill would still move forward, Leno said, because teenagers who live in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point and the Ingleside areas are asking for it.
"The questions I will put to my colleagues in Sacramento are, are we to respect the desire of those most at-risk, or turn our back and ignore their voice?" Leno said. "It's about time we allow for local control."
So far, Marin, Alameda and Los Angeles counties have banned gun shows, Leno said. In 2002, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance banning the possession of firearms on county property, effectively banning gun shows from the San Mateo County Event Center.
A year later, the supervisors passed a resolution urging the Legislature to ban gun shows from the Cow Palace.
"I'm confident I can make the case for my colleagues," Leno said. "Our constituents don't want (guns); our constituents are dying."
Word of the initiative was met with resistance by the National Rifle Association, which has 4 million members.
Ashley Varner, a spokeswoman for the association, said the proposed ban on gun shows is an affront to the constitutional rights to free assembly and bearing arms.
"That's not where the criminals are going. These are law-abiding people," Varner said about gun show attendees. "Gun shows are community events."
Gun-related crime, she said, should be addressed through tougher sentencing, not by curbing gun shows.
"That does not effectively stop crime, because you are only punishing law-abiding citizens," Varner said. "This is not going to do a single thing to prevent the criminals from acting on their evil deeds."
Daly City Mayor Maggie Gomez said gun control is not the absolute answer to the problems and doesn't feel banning gun shows should be done.
"A criminal will go through any means to get guns," Gomez said. "People who abide by the law shouldn't be punished as a result of someone's criminal activity."
Staff writer Christine Morente covers faith, families and North County. She can be reached at (650) 348-4333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff writer Rebekah Gordon can be reached at (650) 306-2428.