Metro Votes To Halt Gun Shows At Fairgrounds

Posted at 10:20 PM, Dec 01, 2015

The Metro Board of Fair Commissioners has voted to temporarily halt future gun shows at the Nashville Fairgrounds.  

The decision came down to a 3-0 vote on Tuesday, with one member abstaining. 

"We addressed the information at hand," said Ned Horton, Chairmain of the Fair Board.  "We thought it was prudent to take a break while we study the matter."

A gun show scheduled for this weekend that will go on as planned, but will be the last one for the foreseeable future.  All shows scheduled in January have been canceled.  

Horton said fair commissioners now plan to research and draft a new contract specific to gun shows that will address issues such as the need for additional security and attention to how gun sale transactions are taking place. 

During the board meeting, about a dozen community members spoke in opposition to having gun shows on city-owned property, including parents who have lost children to gun violence.

"There are guns being sold at the gun shows at our fairgrounds that are ending up in the hands of criminals," said Beth Joslin Roth, Policy Director for the Safe Tennessee Project.  "It's hard to see why we would want that kind of activity taking place on city owned property that we as taxpayers fund."

The Tennessee Firearms Association’s Executive Director, John Harris, expressed outrage at the decision and said it was an attack on residents' constitutional rights. 

"There’s really no justification other than an irrational prejudice against guns for the decision that was made today," said Harris.

Harris added that the gun shows will simply move to other locations in Middle Tennessee.

In November, the board met and discussed proposed new safety regulations for gun shows at the fairgrounds.

Those ideas ranged from adding additional police officers and signs on the property, to requiring trigger locks for all guns on the property, to asking vendors to pay additional liability coverage.

Fairground Executive Director Buck Dozier said taking away the gun shows that bring thousands of people to the fairgrounds each year will have a huge impact on the facility's bottom line.

"I would estimate around a quarter of a million dollars we will have to make up," said Dozier.  "We are already working to get shows to come in here and take those dates."

The Metro Board of Fair Commissioners will meet again Jan. 12.  People with opinions on the issue are expected to attend the meeting to once again speak out on the issue.