The battle over gun shows at The Fairgrounds Nashville may be headed to court.
The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) and Bill Goodman’s Gon and Knife Show filed a lawsuit against Metro Tuesday.
The lawsuit claims the Metro Fair Board violated state law and a Metro Charter Amendment when voting in December to stop gun shows at the city-owned facility starting in 2017 if operators did not comply with new safety regulations. Gun shows will continue at the Fairgrounds through 2016.
The lawsuit asks that the facility be available to Goodman and other gun show promoters without government restrictions.
Dave Goodman, the president of Bill Goodman’s Gun and Knife show released a statement thanking the TFA for joining him in the lawsuit. “We want to stay at the Fairgrounds for years to come, and the law-abiding gun owners of Middle Tennessee want us to as well. When the Fair Board declared last December that that month’s gun show would be the last one at the Fairgrounds, we did not back down and now all of the scheduled shows for 2016 are going forward as we said they would. While the Fairgrounds is not the only venue in town, we want to be there, our customers want us to be there, and we expect to be there through 2017 and beyond,” said Goodman.
Metro Council Member Steve Glover said the lawsuit didn’t come as a surprise. He has argued the Fair Board’s vote violated a Metro Charter Amendment designed to preserve existing activities at the fairgrounds.
“This is what we were trying to avoid,” said Glover. “I thought the Charter Amendment that passed was clear. I regret we are here, but we will find out the outcome as we go forward.”
Fair Board Member Kenny Byrd said the board’s vote did not violate state law or the Metro Charter, and he expected the lawsuit will be dismissed.
“It’s either frivolous or borders on that,” said Byrd. “This is a ludicrous argument to make. It is basically a lawsuit that says you have to let us on your property. You have to let us come.”
Byrd said the Fair Board’s vote was motivated by safety concerns. The board has considered options ranging from adding more police at the facility, to additional signs and security to ensure background checks are being completed.
Glover also recently presented an ordinance that would force the Fair Board to block off dates in 20-17 for future gun shows. However, a Metro Council committee has withdrawn the bill.
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