CCW not honored


August 25, 2006, 03:43 PM
I don't want to start a thread bashing California gun laws. I don't want to be responsible for anyone getting carpal tunnel syndrome :)

Last week I noticed in the newspaper that the local fair (Antelope Valley Fair, CA) is using metal detectors this year. To save myself and my family awkward moments at the gate, I called their security office to inquire about the "correct" procedure for getting in with a CCW permit. The conversation was polite, but as you can guess, I was told "no weapons unless you're law enforcement... this is a state facility."

California, despite issuing few CCW permits, is not very restrictive on where you can carry. The main restrictions are: picket lines, courthouses, places that do majority business in alcohol, and private property (if the owner objects). Unlike some states, you're not barred from public gatherings, banks, or schools.

I informed her that, though I'm no legal expert, a "state facility" (her words) has to honor a state permit. At that, she backed off a little and said she'd prefer I didn't bring it because there are going to be lots of people there. (I guess she thought I plan to use my handgun at the shooting gallery or something :scrutiny:?)

Then she said to call back the following morning after she talked it over with the Sheriff's dept (LA county).

Meanwhile I got in touch with California Pistol and Rifle Association, who put me in touch with their lawyer. He responded right away, saying it has been a controversial issue in the past and has mainly to do with whether the fair is public or privately run. San Diego had a lawsuit over this issue

Today my follow-up with the head of security revealed pretty much what I thought. LASD says no CCWs (except LEO) and if I don't agree I can call them to discuss. She said it's no different than the restriction on a courthouse. I informed the lady that courthouses are specifically prohibited by law, whereas public gatherings are not.

Anyone else have stories of having your CCW being turned away in cases that didn't seem legal? Although I'm a strong believer that we're all safer when law abiding citizens are armed, I wouldn't be half as torqued over this if it didn't look like a case of law enforcement making up the rules as they so desire. Call me naiive, I like laws to be written.

By the way, if you live in California and don't belong to CRPA, you should join.


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August 25, 2006, 04:01 PM
Have you posted this over at ? I too
wonder what the deal is ?

August 25, 2006, 04:06 PM
No, good thought.

August 25, 2006, 04:23 PM
but its not really a "government " establishment if you have to pay to enter right? (assuming theres a fee to get in) i mean you dont pay to enter a courthouse. keep calling and ask for some official form that has labled it as a government thing. i wouldnt count on getting to carry at the fair. but atleast make them prove, or waste time trying to prove that they have some form of logic

Ed Ames
August 25, 2006, 04:34 PM
Isn't your reason for having a CCW the fact that you hang out in the desert miles from law enforcement or cell phone access? Maybe that's someone from a different forum now that I think about it. Anyway, I think someone could argue that going to the AV fair isn't the same sort of risk, especially if the fairgrounds has metal detectors.

Personally, I wouldn't go to any fair that used metal detectors on me... I don't like being treated like a criminal... but it wouldn't be a "call the lawyers" type of event.

August 25, 2006, 04:43 PM
I recall from a couple of years ago that the Sonoma County Fair also had metal detectors. I showed my CCW, they noted the name and issuing agency, and let me go in. At the Alameda County Fair, they didn't even note it down.

Inconsistency is the only consistent theme in CA.

August 25, 2006, 04:52 PM
Anyway, I think someone could argue that going to the AV fair isn't the same sort of risk, especially if the fairgrounds has metal detectors.

The line from comedian Chris Rock would apply here:

"Never go to a party with metal detectors. Sure it's safe INSIDE, but what about all those ******** outside with guns? They know you don't got one..."

August 25, 2006, 04:59 PM

You probably have me confused with someone else, although I do live in the desert :)

I'm of the school of thought that CCW is for those of us non-criminals who enjoy living but don't have a taxpayer funded security detail follow us around. In other words, pretty much anyone. A desert hermit probably has less need of CCW than an urban dweller, although in my book he has no less right to CCW. In my view, more people around = more chance of being around people who would rape your wife, kill you, steal your daughter if they had a chance.

As for "calling the lawyers," I agree it's not the biggest battle that needs fighting in California right now, but I'm still going to ask a lawyer if, for no other reason, my own education. An educated citizen is always a thorn in the side of government overreach.


Good point. It's actually quite hard to tell whether it's public or private. I trolled their website and couldn't tell. I'm only going by the security officials response--which she thought was a good defense for barring CCW--that they're a state entitiy.


August 25, 2006, 05:01 PM

Good call. Actually in past years, it has been the parking lot where the problems occur.


August 25, 2006, 05:31 PM
Simple- Don't go to the AV fair.

Larry Ashcraft
August 25, 2006, 05:43 PM
They have the same policy at the Colorado State Fair (which incidentally, starts today). Its supposed to be about "preventing gang violence", but the security people have to be politically correct and wand everybody, lest they be accused of "profiling"

Last time I went, they tried to confiscate my Kershaw pocket knife. I was forty-something, for cryin' out loud, with three kids in tow.

That's the last time I went to the Fair, and it's just a few blocks down the street from my shop.

Car Knocker
August 25, 2006, 06:09 PM

Is it actually illegal to carry on the fairgrounds under state law or is this some feelgood BS violation of your rights?

August 25, 2006, 06:17 PM
Don't go is definitely an option.

Car Knocker: there's definitely not a specific provision of CA law preventing CCW at the Fair (i.e. there's no language addressing public gatherings, etc).

The only way it can be legal is if the Fair is on private property, but according to the security folks it is public property.

So yes, as far as I can tell it's BS. But I don't want to argue legality at the gate while being worked over by LA Sheriff's Dept, so I probably won't go.

Edit to add: Sorry Car Knocker, didn't realize you were talking about CO laws.

August 25, 2006, 06:31 PM
You should email the state admin (jonm) for California at ( He may have some ideas for you.

Gordon Fink
August 25, 2006, 06:35 PM
There are metal detectors at the county fair? Are you kidding?

I live in Orange County. The last time I checked, there were no metal detectors at the fair or at the county courthouse for that matter.

~G. Fink

Larry Ashcraft
August 25, 2006, 07:05 PM
Car Knocker,

Under CO CCW law, if a place (such as a courthouse) is posted AND metal detectors are being used, it is unlawful to carry there.

The fairgrounds is posted year round, but if I have business there not during the State Fair, I ignore the signs.

August 25, 2006, 07:16 PM
Don't mean to highjack this thread, but does anyone know if there are restrictions on CCW at the Texas State Fair?

August 25, 2006, 07:18 PM
I can see where fairgrounds might be a kind of legal grey area, actually.

(Not trying to defend any anti-gun crap, just playing devil's advocate here)

The way most county and state fairs are run anymore, you've got some kind of private company that contracts with the local government to manage the fair. In effect, those companies are renting the property (fairgrounds) from the government, then they do the rides, concessions, etc. - and the state (or county) gets a cut, right?

Point being that if you have a private company renting government property, then the rules may not be the same as what would apply if the government was running the government property. Make sense?

August 25, 2006, 07:33 PM
"Don't mean to highjack this thread, but does anyone know if there are restrictions on CCW at the Texas State Fair."

I don't know what their stance is at this time but ccw should be legal. Right after the law passed some politicians in Dallas announced that they were going to declare the state fair an amusement park - where licensees are barred from carrying. They had not read the law. There is a very detailed definition in the law defining amusement parks and the state fair failed to meet several of them. I suppose if the state fair is a private entity, they could post the criminal trespass sign but if it is a government entity, the law has been amended to forbid them from dishornoring the licenses.

August 25, 2006, 07:43 PM
Amusement parks still have to be properly posted. I sent the fair an email, I'll report when I hear.

Highdesert, it stinks when people just start making up the rules. I agree that you should keep pushing this as far as you can, if for no other reason than to educate yourself, and others. Maybe those you speak with will have to check it out if you push it, rather than just give their knee-jerk reaction. I fully expect the first response from the Texas State Fair to be "nope, you can't carry." I'll of course ask for a legal citation. If they cannot give me one, then I'll take my weapon and see if they have the proper sign posted. Although, I think they have metal detectors, so I'll have to ask about the proper procedure first. Should be interesting.

August 25, 2006, 07:47 PM
I don't go places where I'm not welcome.

August 25, 2006, 08:00 PM
"Point being that if you have a private company renting government property, then the rules may not be the same as what would apply if the government was running the government property. Make sense?"

Makes perfect sense

August 25, 2006, 08:17 PM
So yes, as far as I can tell it's BS. But I don't want to argue legality at the gate while being worked over by LA Sheriff's Dept, so I probably won't go.

Hey, they do have such a thing in ********** as lawsuits for illegal arrest, don't they?

Hell yes, I'd go - let them arrest me.

I suggest you also contact Jim March, a member on THR.


Ed Ames
August 25, 2006, 09:05 PM
Yeah, as I started to write I realized I was thinking of a post in a California CCW forums site in their San Bernardino subforum... I then figured I might as well go on talkin. :D I've got no problems with CCW for whatever reason, anywhere. I do laugh sometimes... but it is all in fun.

Do they have your name? The fair security people I mean. If not, or if you don't think they would've made a little "watch list" with your name on it... just go to the fair. You won't be braking any laws, and perhaps when they see that normal people are trying to enter with guns they'll change their views. Or perhaps the guards doing the screening will look at your CCW (show it to them when they come to screen you) and let you through on their own. It might cost you the price of parking though.

Californian gun owners have thought themselves into being an underclass. Everyone fears admitting they own. On top of that they assume failure... like the microstamping thing... the first response is, "Will this take away what I already have? If not I don't care." The second is, "I'd better start buying up all the old stock so once this passes I'll have what I need." :banghead: Don't perpetuate that mistake by assuming a negative after you've gone to the effort to carry legally. Next time, don't call for the procedures... if there is no law barring you, just go. Let them say "no" to a polite and smiling guy with a license.

Or don't... I'm not the boss of you. :D

Not to jack your thread, but: Know anything about AVGC? Other clubs in the area? More to the point, know anything about hunting or know any hunters? I've never been hunting in my life, would like to start, and am looking for anyone that can set me straight. Taking a Hunter Safety Course "down the hill" on Sunday....

August 25, 2006, 09:12 PM
We had a similar problem here with the Del Mar fair in San Diego.
In that case, they didnt even want LEOs carrying guns are the fair.

CA doesnt like guns.. even if you're a cop.. lol

August 25, 2006, 10:16 PM
I talked it over with my wife. We agreed that since we really wanted our daughter to experience her first fair, we'd go early but still "boycot" by not spending any money. We left early before the riff-raff showed up.

I went in unarmed, unless you count a Surefire. I'd like to be the type to allow myself to be wrongfully harassed / tresspassed / arrested / etc but in the end I don't want to play games with LASD and don't want to put my family through that.

I heard several people in line complaining about the security. The screeners even announced "no cuticle scissors", which my wife had to explain to me are little bitty things. :barf:

I have no problem with a private entity on their own property setting whatever rules they want (e.g. Disney). I'm not sure I agree that a private vendor renting a taxpayer funded facility should be able to trample on someone else's rights though. If I rent a city building for a function I don't expect to be able to post a sign saying "no people from other ethnic groups than me."

Ed, they only have my first name, and I was very polite, so I don't think I'm on a troublemaker list. Good points about how we California gun owners have a very defensive posture. I don't hunt but drop me an email if you ever want to go do some plinking in the desert.

The San Deigo case was the one the lawyer I contacted referred to. I couldn't believe they didn't even want off duty and retired LEOs to be able to carry.

Thanks to everyone for the responses.


August 26, 2006, 11:45 AM
We are on out last weekend of our local fair. As you can guess, it is posted and they have detectors up. Guess what, we aren't going. Funnt, same building they have gun shows in is suddenly off milits to legal CCW becuase a bunch a of carneys are in town.

Sir Aardvark
August 26, 2006, 12:35 PM
About the only thing you can (if you choose to do it) is to get a lawyer and sue them.

You are not going to get the answer you want from anyone in authority at the fairgrounds, and this is pretty much "them" making up their own rules.

"They" will try to get away with anything they want, and if a concerned citizen doesn't stand up to correct the problem, then they will get away with it.

Hopefully you are some multimillionaire who can afford to take on the system - justice seems to work best for those who can afford to pay (or those who are famous, like OJ Simpson)

August 28, 2006, 04:23 AM
The AV fair is most likely (I don't know for sure) on state land run by a local board under the auspices of the state.

Actually, I just looked it up - from their own website (I provided the bolding)
The Antelope Valley Fair Association was incorporated on September 12, 1938 with the following signers of the incorporation papers: George Rush, Lloyd Mikelson, Jesse Romine, D.R. Jaqua and Tom Foley. After operating as the Antelope Valley Fair Association for three years, and having full community cooperation in erecting the original buildings, it was deemed advisable to become an Agricultural Association under the Division of Fairs and Expositions, State of California. With the help of many individuals and organizations of the Valley working with State Legislators to make possible, on September 13, 1941, the 50th District Agricultural Association became operative.

That makes it a part of a state agency. The land should also be state land. They contract to have rides and concessions and such; but it is certainly a public run event.

I know you've already gone, but this might be helpful if you have any follow up contact with anyone.
Maybe you could pose this question to the fair board?
I understand this has been a big issue in Ohio also.

August 28, 2006, 01:07 PM

Thanks for the info. I agree it seems to be a public entity hosting the fair. I had also posted on the forum and got some good info there.

A similar case happened in San Diego, except there the "ban" included off-duty LEOs. (Copy of article below) The LEOs sued and later settled for the right to carry after signing a release saying they wouldn't drink, etc while carrying. Their lawyer said something to the effect that the Ag Association "policy" does not pre-empt state law. I couldn't agree more. Of course the settlement does nothing to address civilian CCW holders, because nobody cares about such a small minority.

Everything I have found tells me that the local Ag Assocation is making up rules that preempt state law and LA Sheriff's Dept is enforcing those rules for them. It sets a really bad precedent, but California is known for such a thing. :mad:

I'd like to do something about it, but realistically there are much bigger battles to fight here.

Cops urged to skip fair over gun policy

By: Wire Reports

DEL MAR - The president of Escondido's police union says he will urge the city's officers to boycott the 2005 San Diego County Fair because of a policy barring entry by off-duty law enforcement personnel carrying weapons.

Paul Woodward, president of the Escondido Police Officers Association, sent a letter yesterday to the Del Mar Fairgrounds board expressing his concern over the weapons ban, which was implemented for the first time last year by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, which oversees the fairgrounds.

Fairgrounds spokeswoman Linda Zweig said today the policy was created to provide a "safer environment for families," but Woodward said the policy actually imperils safety.

"As president of the Escondido Police officers Association, I will be encouraging our members and all San Diego law enforcement and their families not to attend the 2005 Del Mar Fair," Woodward wrote.

He said professionally trained sworn officers now have the authority to carry weapons across state lines in the United States and even aboard commercial aircraft.

"I find it difficult to believe that in this age of post-9-11 terrorism and with threats of terrorism constantly looming over us, you would make such policies," Woodward wrote.

Timothy J. Fennell, general manager of the 22nd District Agriculture Association, which oversees the Del Mar Fairgrounds, sent a letter May 6 to the San Diego County Chiefs Association reminding all local law enforcement agencies of a policy that bars off-duty officers from carrying weapons into the county fair, which runs June 10 to July 4.

The wording of Fennell's letter was ambiguous, appearing to vaguely suggest that the policy was inspired by the sheriff's department.

"At the request of the Sheriff's Department, I want to take this opportunity to ask the County Chiefs Association to remind all the county's law enforcement agencies that the 22nd District Agricultural Association ... has a policy of now allowing any weapons into the fairgrounds during the run of the 2005 San Diego County Fair," Fennell wrote in the letter.

"The San Diego County Fair uses metal detectors to screen all its patrons and the district's weapon prohibition policy also precludes off-duty officers from carrying a firearm into the fairgrounds," he wrote.

Asked to elaborate today, both sheriff's and fairground officials said the sheriff's department did not originate the policy and that the department had only asked the the fair board to remind other law enforcement agencies of it.

"The sheriff's department did not ask us to implement this policy. This is something the 22nd District Agricultural Association decided to implement," Zweig said. "The sheriff's department simply asked us to inform other agencies in the county that we are implementing the policy again this year."

Zweig said armed deputies in and out of uniform patrolling the county fair provide sufficient security.

"We're simply implementing a policy that's in effect at other family venues such as Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Legoland, Dodger and Angel stadiums and other locations," Zweig said. "It's a safer alternative all the way around."

Sheriff's spokesman Glenn Revell said the decision of whether off-duty law enforcement officer should attend the fair unarmed is a personal choice.

"I understand the the policy will make some of my law enforcement colleagues uncomfortable, but they need to make the personal choice of whether that will preclude them from attending the fair or not," Revell said.

"Some officers may be offended by it, while others will attend without hesitation, but this is not a policy that we created."

August 28, 2006, 01:22 PM

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