TUCSON, Ariz. — A city councilman wants Tucson to ban gun shows at the
city-owned convention center until the state or the federal government requires
background checks for every gun sale.
Councilman Steve Kozachik said he’ll propose the ban during the council’s Feb.
“Continuing to allow person-to-person gun sales without the requirement of any
background checks is a clear threat to the health and safety of the community.
If any place has a right to be sensitive about that, Tucson does,” Kozachik
Tucson was the site of a January 2011 mass shooting that killed six people and
left then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 other people injured.
The city stands to lose around $15,000 per gun show if it enacts a ban, which
would affect one company that holds several shows a year at the convention
center, the Arizona Daily Star reported Thursday.
Owner Lori McMann of Phoenix-based McMann Roadrunner Gun Show said her company
obeys the law and that she doesn’t understand why the city would want to keep
turn away her business.
“They don’t have any basis to not rent to us,” she said.
Barring a successful lawsuit to challenge state law, the city cannot require
instant background checks on gun purchases at shows at the convention center,
City Attorney Mike Rankin said.
However, the city can decide how to operate the convention center, “including
deciding how the property will be used, and specifically whether it will be used
for gun shows,” Rankin said.
Todd Rathner, a lobbyist for the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association and
national board member of the National Rifle Association, said Kozachik’s
proposal would be hostile to gun owners and ineffective in keeping guns away
from mentally unstable people.
“None of the firearms used by madmen in recent tragedies were purchased at gun
shows,” Rathner said. “Why would the City Council target a legitimate, legal,
tax-paying business that has nothing to do with those recent tragedies? It’s
Kozachik said his proposal is only a first step.
“This is the low-hanging fruit in the discussion. Let’s at least agree on the
easy stuff and hold the disagreements for the more controversial parts of the
issue of gun control,” he said. “This isn’t one of those.”
Kozachik said he would like Pima County to consider a similar measure for gun
shows held at the county fairgrounds, but a top county official was cool to the
“We wouldn’t be inclined to tell our Southwest Fair Commission what to do,”
county administrator Chuck Huckelberry said. “The Board of Supervisors has not
been inclined to tell them what to do or get in their business.”