County Commissioners withdraw fairgrounds gun ordinance

Proposal will be re-evaluated in the future

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners announced Dec. 8 an ordinance that would effectively ban gun shows at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds will not be passed.

In a special notice released, the commissioners informed the public it would not take action on the proposed law that would restrict the sale, purchasing or trading of firearms at the fairgrounds. A vote had currently been set for the ordinance at the Dec 12 meeting.

“After discussing the proposed ordinance in a work study session December 7, the Board decided to withdraw the proposed ordinance that would have ended gun shows at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds,” the statement said.

If passed, the ordinance would have also restricted open and concealed carry in the Kitsap County Administration Building.

The ordinance was heavily opposed by gun shop owners and gun show producers, along with other members of the community who said passing such a ban would be an insult to the law-abiding citizens of the county and a slap in the face to the producers who take pride in their shows.

Michael Scribner of Falcon Productions, who has hosted numerous shows at the fairgrounds in past years, was one of the many people who packed the Commissioners Chambers in Port Orchard for the Nov. 14 public hearing. When Scribner first heard from Kitsap Daily News about the withdrawal of the ordinance, he was all but overjoyed.

“This is great news for everybody,” he said. “Like I’ve told people, you have got to take all this seriously. You’ve got to be there, write letters, shake the freaking tree.”

Over 150 additional comments from both sides of the issue were received by commissioners following the public hearing, further motivating the board to withdraw the ordinance from consideration.

“The diversity of comments revealed how regulations regarding guns and gun shows can be polarizing but may also be used as an opportunity to discuss other important topics related to gun rights and public safety,” the statement said.

Supporters of the ban testified that such restrictions would create a safer environment for their kids and criticized the opposition for feeling like they needed even more access to such dangerous weapons.

Scribner said he believes the majority of the late write-in comments to commissioners could be for either side, but called out the supporters of the ban for failing to appear and make their case in person when the other side made their presence known.

“We are the majority,” he said.

In response to claims that gun shows promote an unsafe environment, Scribner said he continues to encourage gun safety and the taking of lessons when one handles and owns a firearm. He also said he will make sure that prospective buyers don’t end up hundreds of dollars in the hole just to not feel confident with their skills or weapons.

“Gun safety, barrel awareness, and all that stuff is vital because there is a portion of major idiots out there that probably should attend a course or not handle a firearm,” he said.

The ordinance, while withdrawn, will be re-evaluated in the future, according to the statement.