It is dangerous enough that convicted felons can buy weapons at the Pima County Fairgrounds without an ID or a background check. But it’s inexcusable that the County has a contract with convicted gun felons who run the Crossroads of the West gun show.
It’s shocking but true. Robert and Jeff Templeton, the operators of the Crossroads of the West gun show, have been convicted and served prison time for federal gun law violations. This is according to news reports in California, Utah and elsewhere.
- Bob Templeton, the owner, served six months in federal prison for illegally running guns to South Africa, according to the news reports. He has admitted to at least two other weapons violations since then.
- His son Jeff Templeton, the organizer, was sentenced to federal prison for a series of firearms violations and drug arrests, according to the news reports.
- See https://bit.ly/2rWwsem, https://bit.ly/2DRVa2m and https://bit.ly/33PHJdD for proof.
The gun show takes place four times a year at the taxpayer-funded Fairgrounds, and it is due back in January. It is a well-known black market where felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill can buy a gun with no ID or background check from unlicensed dealers.
Citizens for a Safer Pima County will hold a press conference before the next Supervisors’ meeting on Dec. 17. For details click here. The public has been called to support a Board resolution calling for universal background checks in all gun sales. There’s also growing interest on the Board for the County to stop doing business with a gun show.
The Supervisors are wrestling with a state law, A.R.S. Sec. 13-3108(A), that says it cannot regulate the gun show. However, there is no law requiring the county to do business with the gun show. Banning a gun show, however, is not regulating the sale or transfer of firearms.
No ID. No background check.
“I went to a gun show and was able to purchase two AR-15s, a handgun and a 110-round magazine without providing a name, address, or driver’s license. Nothing. Certainly not a background check,” said Nancy Bowman, the nurse who survived the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson.
“Until background checks are required on all purchases, the Board of Supervisors should suspend gun shows at the fairgrounds,” she said.
On top of that, former Tucson council member Molly McKasson testified that she has been stonewalled by the Supervisors and its fairgrounds commission.
“We can drastically reduce gun violence and reclaim our democracy from the terror of random mass shootings,” McKasson said. “To that end, we turned in hundreds of signatures last April, but except for Supervisor Elias, you have ignored all our requests.”
“Instead, you directed us to the Southwestern Fair Commission, which refused to put us on their agenda and instead notified Crossroad’s founder, Bob Templeton who invited over 100 vendors and NRA advocates to the Commission’s call to the audience. They were given over an hour to rail against stricter gun registration, but Nancy Bowman and I were given 6 minutes,” she said.
Something is very wrong that the County and the commission do business with convicted gun felons who run the gun show on public property. Why didn’t they conduct a background check on the Templetons? Why do they assume this risk?
When a gun is used in a crime and it is traced back to the gun show, you can be certain that Pima County will be named as a defendant. The county will be viewed as a “deep pocket” in a wrongful death lawsuit.
My legal research shows that wrongful death verdicts this year range from $7 million [in the case of a wrongful shooting] to $13 million [in the case of a car accident].
Better yet, the County should stop doing business with the gun show entirely, as numerous governing boards have done.
- The Del Mar, California, Fairgrounds stopped doing business with the Crossroads gun show in October after they discovered the owners’ felony convictions.
- The Cow Palace in San Francisco stopped doing business with gun shows in April.
- Governing boards and city councils in Westchester County, NY, Knoxville and Nashville, TN, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Roanoke, VA have all stopped doing business with gun shows.
The wise choice is to follow the lead. There is no state law forcing the County to do business with dangerous gun shows. The Supervisors must deal with this high-risk liability and terminate the contract with a gun show run by convicted felons.
Join us to stop this outrage at a press conference Dec. 17 at the Board of Supervisors meeting at 130 West Congress, 1st Floor. And learn more at our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CitizensSaferPima/