Pictured: A firearms vendor table at a gun show. 

by Kimberly Rivers

The board of directors for the Ventura County Fairgrounds has scheduled a special meeting on Friday, Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. for a “discussion and possible action regarding 2022 Gun Show Contract.” 

As of press deadline, the document identified in the agenda is not yet posted online and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, which responds to California Public Records Act (PRA) requests on behalf of the fair board, has indicated the agency has received the request submitted by the Ventura County Reporter asking to view the named contract, but has not yet produced the document.

State open meeting laws require that the public be provided with documents at the same time as the board members, particularly when the item is on the agenda as a potential action item. (Bagley Keene Act § 11125.1)

Online Update (update is in italics): 11:20 a.m., Thurs., Jan. 6: After press deadline the Ventura County Reporter received a response to the PRA request to view the 2022 Gun Show Contract. 

“There are no records responsive to your request. The 31st DAA has advised the Legal Office that at this time, there is no 2022 Gun Show Contract,” stated the email from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. That is despite the document being referenced in open session for discussion and possible action. 

The closed session agenda item references “potential litigation-contract” but does not specify which contract. 

Some members of the board for the 31st District Agricultural Association, which governs the use of the Ventura County Fairgrounds, have expressed a desire to not host gun shows at the property, which would create a shift from past policy. The board had discussed potentially voting to change that policy. 

Fair board members had also discussed waiting for state legislation that might prohibit gun shows on state-owned lands altogether. Such a move by the state would remove the controversial topic from the board’s hands. 

State Senate Bill 264, introduced by Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) in January 2021, was originally aimed at banning firearms sales on all state-owned property. It was amended, however, to apply only to the OC Fair and Event Center in Orange County. The bill was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October and took effect Jan. 1. 

The Board of Directors for the 31st District Agricultural Association includes Leah Lacayo (president), Armando Lopez (vice president), Mike Bradbury, Leslie Cornejo, Cecilia Cuevas, Dan Long and Shanté Morgan-Durisseau. Members are appointed by the Governor. 

The public meeting is accessible by the public via telephone at  1-720-707-2699; Meeting ID: 483 421 4737; Passcode: 575554. To participate online via Zoom, get link at  www.venturacountyfair.org/administration/meetings-and-public-notices/.

The meeting agenda is online at: https://www.venturacountyfair.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Special-Board-Meeting-Agenda-1-7-22.pdf