The PJ Tatler

Travis County Makes Unreasonable Demands of Saxet Gun Show Producers

Travis County’s commission met Tuesday and issued a new contract to the Saxet Gun Show organizers. But that contract is loaded down with poison pills. KXAN reports that the new contract includes a number of provisions that the show’s producers cannot and will not agree with.

Among them is a demand that Saxet require everyone who sells even a single firearm at the show to conduct background checks on buyers. That would include individual sellers who are not allowed by law to access the National Instant Background Checks (NICS) system. Saxet is also not allowed by law to mandate that non-federally licensed firearm sellers use the NICS. Individual sellers are not subject to the law which Travis County is seeking to impose on them. There have been efforts in Congress to impose NICS on non-licensed individual sellers, but those efforts have always failed.

Travis County’s commissioners also sought to impose the following demands:

  • All displayed firearms must be rendered inoperable by security straps or removal of the bolt prior to entering the show, and remain secured during the event. If it is necessary for the security strap to be removed to demonstrate the action of the gun, the firearm must be inspected before and after demonstration of the action, and the strap must then be replaced immediately – without exception.
  • No exhibitor may deliver a firearm to ANY buyer without the security strap.
  • All firearms brought to the show by the public will be inspected and secured by show staff- often local sworn law enforcement personnel – prior to the firearm being admitted into the show.

In a written statement, Saxet owner Todd Beiler says the show “can not accept or enforce a contractual agreement made by two parties that have no legal ramifications either by Federal, State or Local laws to the individuals,” adding “Nor can we take upon ourselves to restrict any individual right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States or the Bill of Rights.”

There have been zero security incidents at the Saxet Gun Show in the 20 years it has operated at the Travis County Expo Center. The new contract appears to be a way for Travis County to claim that it tried to work with Saxet, while it really sought a means of kicking the show off county property permanently without exposing itself to legal action from the state of Texas. The state legislature may take a look at the county’s actions in the 84th session, which begins in 2015. Travis initially tried to kick the show off county property unilaterally, but backed down when Attorney General Greg Abbott, likely the state’s next governor, threatened to sue. The expo center is public property. But having attended Saxet shows at the center myself, I’ll just say that there are far newer and better venues available.

Saxet can be expected to find a venue outside Travis County now. The show generated $800,000 per year for Travis County and was never a source of problems for the county. Saxet’s next show in central Texas is March 1-2 in San Antonio.