What Is Travis County Up To on the Saxet Gun Show Contract?
February 4, 2014 - 8:56 am
It’s fair to say that liberal Travis County, TX (home to Austin) has an uneasy relationship with guns. If the county could do what it wants, without regard for economics or the enforceable nature of contracts, it would kick the Saxet gun show out of the Travis County Expo Center. The commission tried to do that last year.
Saxet gun shows have been held in the center for about 20 years. But after the Newtown, CT tragedy spurred liberals to go after gun rights again, Travis County’s commission voted to cancel its contract with Saxet last year. State Attorney General Greg Abbott threatened a “double barrel” lawsuit if the county followed through, and the commission quickly backed down. Abbott is very likely to be the state’s next governor.
About a week later, the commission held a vote concerning whether it could ban gun shows. With the probability of a lawsuit in mind, it voted not to ban gun shows or cancel its contract with Saxet.
But the issue didn’t go away. This year, the commission decided just to not vote on renewing the contract with Saxet. But all of the counties surrounding Travis are red. None of them would object to hosting a gun show; in fact, if they have the facilities, they would welcome the economic impact along with supporting the Second Amendment. The spectacular and almost brand new Cedar Park Center, in neighboring and deeply red Williamson County, is already home to the Premiere Gun Show (which used to be held in Austin) and could probably accommodate another one in its schedule without too much fuss.
Today, the Travis County Commission is bringing up the Saxet contract again and may vote on it. With a twist, according to KVUE.
Community groups in Austin raised concern that individual sellers could sell to buyers at the show without the federal checks that are mandated for vendors. The owners of the gun show and attendees point out Saxet hasn’t had any issues in its over 20 years in Central Texas.
Commissioners were considering altering Saxet’s contract to include the checks before they renew, but owners did not agree. During testimony last month, owners offered to post signs encouraging background checks, hoping that would be enough to keep the event at the Expo Center. Commissioners did not take a vote, effectively ending the issue, until now.
Tuesday commissioners plan to vote on the county’s version of the contract with the gun show. Judge Sam Biscoe tells KVUE that version will then be sent to Saxet Gun Show organizers, and those organizers will decide whether to accept that version of the contract.
If both sides can’t agree, the county will have to scramble to find another successful tenant, and quickly, by March.
The gun show brought in over $800,000 last year.
Saxet won’t bend on the background checks question. That would set a bad precedent for them and their competitor shows. The show’s producers are surely aware that other counties and cities could step up to take the show and the dollars that it brings in. Williamson certainly could. The commission wants the $800,000 cash injection that Saxet provides. But the county’s high moonbat population is providing the political pressure to kick the show out of the county. It’ll be interesting to see what the commission does.