Pima Democrats Boycott Fairgrounds Because of Gun Show


The Pima County Democratic Party has voted not to exhibit at the Pima County Fairgrounds, because it makes a profit from gun sales. The executive committee of the party voted 17 to 7 against getting an exhibit table at the county fair.

The Pima County Democratic platform states, “Therefore, we support the work to
Implement universal background checks for the purchase of any firearm, and close
background-check loopholes.

Alison Jones, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, led the move to boycott the Pima Fairgrounds, which profits off gun shows.

“The real reason we did this is that we don’t want our money to go to an organization that would facilitate people buying guns without a background check. We feel we would be complicit if we did rent a table,” said Alison Jones, Chair of the Pima County Democratic Party. “The fair is a place to engage with voters, but there are many, many other places for us to engage where we don’t have to pay money that would make us complicit with gun sellers.”

The Pima County Fair Commission is a secretive group that profits from the notorious gun show, which returns to the Fairgrounds in March. Felons, domestic abusers and mentally ill people can freely buy guns for cash from unlicensed dealers at the show – without a background check.

Around 80% of all firearms acquired for criminal purposes are obtained from unlicensed gun sellers, according to Giffords.org. Making a dangerous situation worse, convicted gun felons operate the Pima County gun show, creating a crime bazaar supervised by ex-convicts.

The vast majority of Americans support universal background checks for private sales and at gun shows (77% among gun owners and 87% among non-owners). The idea of closing the gun show loophole is not controversial.

  • Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus has publicly called for background checks on gun sales at the gun show.
  • Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and the Pima Board of Supervisors have both signed proclamations demanding background checks for gun sales.
  • Citizens for a Safer Pima County, a grassroots organization, has staged protests over the lack of background checks at the gun show.
  • Congress member Ann Kirkpatrick has called for background checks at the gun show, saying “I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Citizens for a Safer Community who are asking for commonsense action to prevent gun violence. They are calling on the Southwest Fair Commission to require that all vendors at gun shows in County facilities conduct background checks for all gun purchases.”
ann kirkpatrick gun background check
“Comprehensive background checks could play a major role in reducing gun violence,” says Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Tucson).

All that the Fairgrounds Commission needs to do is to set out a rule that there must be background checks at the gun show. But all the protests have been dismissed by the Pima County Fairgrounds Commission.

A shadow government

The 7-member Fairgrounds Commission is a shadow government with no contact information available on its website. Meeting dates are not posted online. The members of the Commission are self-appointed.

Even though the Commission member list is maintained by Clerk of the County Board, the clerk says it has no email addresses, phone numbers or biographies for the commissioners.

The Fairgrounds Commission is a non-profit corporation that has an 11-year contract with the County to run the Fairgrounds. The names of the members are:

  • Judy Patrick, President
  • Jim Murphy, Secretary
  • Alan Levin
  • Garrett Ham
  • Mark Cowley
  • Marvin Selke
  • Ronald E. Allen

The commissioners are completely out of touch with the Tucson community and have obstinately refused to consider background checks.

At a Commission meeting last September, Molly McKasson and Nancy Bowman of Citizens for a Safer Pima County addressed the meeting to call for background checks. Shockingly, the commissioners called in 100 NRA members to drown out the two women. The intransigent commissioners then said publicly that background checks will never be on their agenda.

Concerned citizens are urged to telephone comments to the spokesperson for the Commission is Julia Heavner, Administrative Assistant, Pima Fair Commission, (520) 762-9100 ext 1016.


  1. Per the January minutes, the meeting of the Commission gaveled in at 12:06 and out at 12:09 pm. Something tells me that the business of this body is conducted at an undisclosed location.

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