State Fair Bans Guns; State Fair Workers Robbed at Gun Point

By Dean WeingartenWashington State Fair

Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( Washington State Fair is one of the few locations in the State that bans the legal carry of firearms.  That policy is directly stated in the rules for the fair.   From

The following items will not be allowed at the Washington State Fair,

  • Weapons of any kind, including knives and all firearms

The effect of creating a weapons free zone was not lost on a group of criminals.  They used the fact that fair workers were known to be disarmed to their advantage.  Three different armed robberies of State Fair workers were committed in less than 20 minutes, on the 15th of September, Sunday night, shortly after the Fair closed.  From

But Strom had just finished a 10-hour shift selling items at the fair and had been paid $100 in cash.

“But then he pulled out a gun and he asked me for it all, and so I gave him $100 and just walked away before he asked me for my phone or anything,” Strom said.

Strom said the robber was only 5'8″ tall. Strom stand 6'6″ tall. Strom said the man's gun made up for the size difference.

“I guess you feel pretty big when you have a gun,” he said.

Just 8 minutes later and a mile away on the complete other side of the fair grounds, two more pairs of State Fair workers were robbed at gunpoint. Police believe they were targeted by the same group of robbers.

Police presence at and around the fair has been increased in response to the armed robberies committed by four young black men in a white Buick or Oldsmobile.

Disarmed people who get paid in cash are very attractive targets for armed robbers.  The reporter at wrote that the victims did the right thing:

In each case the victims did the right thing and handed over their belongings.

I agree with him.  Outnumbered two or four to one, disarmed while the robbers are armed, it is the better part of valor to hand over a hundred dollars.

In  this case, the robbers did not injure or kill their victims.   They could easily have done so.  No one can be certain that compliance will result in a lack of injury, but in this instance, it worked.

According to the research done by Gary Kleck, armed resistance with a gun is less likely to result in injury to the victim than compliance, but unarmed resistance is more likely to result in the victim being injured.  In Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, the standard reference for criminological study on gun control, Table 4.4, resistance with a gun resulted in 17.4 percent injured.  No self protection (compliance) resulted in 24.7 percent being injured.  Physical resistance without a weapon resulted in 50.8 percent being injured.

That seems simple common sense, from millennia of experience of people using weapons.  Weapons make people more effective at violence.  Violence is sometimes necessary to defend oneself or others.

Anyone who pulls a gun on you and demands your valuables has to be considered a deadly threat.

Being disarmed puts you at a disadvantage that is hard to overcome.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 74 thoughts on “State Fair Bans Guns; State Fair Workers Robbed at Gun Point

    1. Teens using guns should have a legal actions to be impose. This is to prevent any incidents caused by guns, specially among kids.

    2. It is fair season again. Btw, the Puyallup Fair has been the Puyallup Fair for many years. I am middle aged and attended the “Puyallup Fair” as a child. The recent name change does seem to show an identity crisis and it can be confusing.

      There are other potential ramifications of a lack of security at the fair in their gun free zone. Table setting is a competition where exhibitors bring table setting items and set tables as perfectly as possible for blue ribbons and prizes. Other Washington fairs I have checked require appropriate flatware to be set according to proper etiquette. In the table setting competitions, everything must be set to match a menu, and must be properly placed on the table in the right order and the right places. That is a large part of the competition.

      The flatware which people bring may be valuable. It could be antique, and it could be sterling. Manufacturers simply do not make some of the specific flatware pieces for most modern sets. Even my stainless steel steak knives go for $29.99 each at the most popular replacements source. A full place setting (for one person) of my stainless steel flatware includes about seventeen pieces at a value of close to $200. At most fairs, I need two of those sets using about 80% of the pieces for each. Some say the flatware is the jewelry on the table. A sterling silver place setting of only five pieces for one person may be worth $1000. If stolen, these kinds of small items may be pawned, sold on eBay, or melted down and sold if they are sterling.

      The fair in Puyallup does not allow flatware in their table setting competitions to avoid it being stolen. People compete there setting tables with no flatware. Instead, the fair has silly themes and only promotes very casual table setting etiquette because it does not want the security risk of having multiple exhibits with valuable flatware.

      Kids in 4H in Puyallup do not get to practice the skills that will take them to any high places in the hospitality industry and do not learn how to set a table for the White House. They never get to see examples set by older people in open class, either, because nobody is allowed to set a proper table in Puyallup’s “table setting competition”. Smaller fair table-setting experts laugh at Puyallup’s ineptness regarding security. It is interesting that a woman who graduated from Centralia College is the White House florist. I do not know her position on guns, but clearly she knows her way around dignitaries and can create proper centerpieces for the most formal tables in our country. The Southwest Washington Fair has created and supported real experts in table setting etiquette. Perhaps small town gun-toting Americans are the ones with the most class, after all.

      One has to wonder what else has been lost at that very commercial fair in Puyallup as a result of its poor security choices.

      -Raised in a house full of guns by a father who taught gun safety. Back to you, men.

      Betty Crocket

    3. Here in Tennessee if it’s a park it STAYS a park, regardless if it free, paid, fenced, guarded, private or publicly run event.
      Does not matter if it’s open 7/24 or closes at times.
      That said, in July 2015 all cities and counties lost the ability to ban/post against HCP (Handgun Carry Permit) holders.
      Yup, here in Tenn a fair/BBQ event/concert/etc run by a non-governmental entity CANNOT ‘post’ a property if the property is owned or operated by a city, county or state.
      The State Attorney General says that since the city/county/other does not have the right to ‘post’, they cannot convey a right that they don’t themselves have. His written and very comprehensive opinion clearly states that under no conditions for any reason can a public area be posted at any time.

      Oh, BTW, the person who stated that the police have no OBLIGATION to protect you is correct. This premise was tested and proved legally decades ago. A pack of police could watch you get beat, robbed and killed and not do a single thing and neither they or their employer can be charged with any crime or liability. Recall Ferguson (sp ?) Mo.

      Protect yourself and those you love 100% of the time.

      1. This is where i work as a firefighter/paramediv… my fire district… I worked for the last two years just a few blocks from here.

        The world is falling apart. Hey, if you need to call 911 for my/our help, please don’t let it be YOU who needs the medical treatment!!

    4. I was pulled aside while walking into the fair because I made the mistake of having a $20 folding knife clipped in the pocket of my Wranglers. I have attended the Puyallup Fair with my kids since they were very young and rarely ever went without at least a snubby in my waistband. The fair is a prime target for a shooter to inflict maximum damage due to the overly crowded venue with unarmed fair security and LEO few and far between. I will continue to carry at the fair; just a little more discreetly.

    5. “Anyone who pulls a gun on you and demands your valuables has to be considered a deadly threat.” I did not have to get to the second part of that sentence before determining that there was a deadly threat!

    6. This is why I will never bring my family to a no guns zone.
      In addition, I will never spend money at activities that don’t support the second amendment.
      If we spend money in these no gun zones, you are supporting the ban.

    7. I stand corrected. After checking the facts, I found that the Washington State Fair is a Private, Non-Profit Foundation and therefore can set their own rules on the grounds. Another good reason why I never attend and don’t intend to in the future.

    8. As a holder of a CWP in WA, I will say that the fair’s unconstitutional attempt to restrict carry has been deemed unconstitutional when Seattle tried to ban weapons from public property. Only private property owners have that right. The fairgrounds is publicly owned so I suspect by next year the fair commies will find out that they do not have the law on their side. I will continue to carry my weapon anyplace except those prohibited by law and PHUQ anyone who tries to tell me otherwise. Besides the Puyallup fair is such a commercial waste. I suggest you try some of the other smaller county fairs (like Jefferson in Port Townsend) if you really want an original country fair. AND they are gun friendly in Jefferson Co. not like the communists that control Seattle. (they really are communists – one sits on the city council).

    9. I am shocked — SHOCKED!!! — to learn that I have been Breaking The Rules all these years I carried at The Fair…

      And, yes, THIS YEAR it’s The Washington State Fair.
      Previously it was the Western Washington State Fair.
      Sometimes it’s just been The Puyallup Fair.
      Bit of an identity crisis, I suppose…

    10. In the future at least, please identify the location of the “Washington State Fair”, as there are more than one in the state. For example the “Washington State Fair” in Yakima begins today, September 25th. I’m guessing that the one mentioned in the article is the Western Washington State Fair, which is in Puyallup.

      1. Yakima’s fair is the Central Washington State Fair. The Puyallup fair has been known as the Washington State Fair virtually since inception, until 2006 when it was designated as the Puyallup Fair and Events Center, then subsequently changed back to the Washington State Fair in 2013. There are also the Evergreen State Fair and the Northwest Washington State Fair, but only one known as the Washington State Fair.

    11. First time I saw the sign “Gun Free Zone” I ran inside thinking they were giving away free guns…….Yep, sounds stupid doesn’t it. Not as stupid as actually staying in a gun free zone so the criminal can have their way with you…

    12. everybody thinks im crazy since i pistolwhipped an intruder when my gun jammed i beat him till my arm wore out and went inside he was unconcious on my lawn.. in retrospect id shut and lock the door and call the lawl his wife was scereaming for me not to kll him so i thought someone would call the police but they never showed up so i just kept on beating him.that was 1980 not much hAS happened since then

    13. In North Carolina, our State Fair is a weapon free zone too. However there are so many police officers around, and they check people coming in that robbing vendors would be difficult to get away with. Why weren’t those individuals checked for weapons when they entered the fair ? Where were all the Law Enforcement officers ? Why didn’t they do a lock down of the fair after the robbery happened ? If they are going to make a gun free zone, they need to make sure everyone is gun free !

    14. I worked my own booth for a number of years at the PUYALLUP Fair and regularly carried 8 to 10 thousand dollars out to my car at 10 or 11 PM sometimes quite a distance from all the lights around the fairgrounds. $100 is chicken feed compared to what most vendors had on them going to their cars. It was pretty dark in the parking lots. Great for criminals. There were lots of other vendor folks packing similar amounts of money out there just after closing. I often wondered why no criminals zeroed in on that wave of cash making its way out of the fairgrounds each evening. I never once, in years of selling at the fair, saw any sort of security officers or police in the lots at night . I, for one, took precautions to protect my wife and I. I never failed to have in hand a bright flashlight and my gun. (It helped that we sold bright flashlights as part of the business).

      1. Sir, I had no idea how much cash these types of vendors carried in their vehicles, until you posted this. I’m sure the criminals have no idea either, so you should probably keep this kind of info to yourself.

        Also, as I’m sure you know, it doesn’t matter whether an armed criminal steals a pencil, or a gold ingot; they’re still armed and capable of killing if they don’t get what they’re after (and sometimes kill even if they get it).

      2. Well they might not have but thanks to your comment now they might. But it sounds like they’re stupid thugs who need to be hung upside down off the ferris wheel

    15. Yes, for sure I agree if the state is mandating everyone be disarmed (even if they have a permit to carry) and unable to defend themselves the burden is on them to provide adequate security or they are liable for not providing for my families safe passage to our car. It happened while people are leaving a gun free zone so everyone is disarmed and the criminals know that. I had a knife clip visible and they would not let me in with my family. They sell large knives in the fair as well.

      1. ‘The state’ does not run the fair. Even if they did, there is no way they could provide the thousands of families that attend the fair safe passage to their vehicles. The courts have ruled the police have no specific duty to protect individuals. That is up to YOU. Thus the beauty of the Second Amendment.

    16. One thing to consider. The Washington State Fairgrounds are private property. Bringing a concealed weapon into the property is not going to get you into trouble even if somehow you managed to get caught, and you likely won’t. The very worst thing you are likely to face is a trespass from the property. I’ve carried in there deeply concealed hundreds of times. The signs don’t stop the bad guys and they certainly aren’t going to stop me.

    17. What sort of brain-dead society have we become, when it’s still up for debate whether the good guys should be armed or not, in the face of the bad guys who are armed. This only makes us good guys victims. Whoever decided that we need to be unable to adequately defend ourselves needs to be prosecuted, thrown out of office, ignored, and shown to be the fools that they are. They are on the bad guys’ side in this and that is unacceptable. We need to expose them for what they are with every opportunity. Just like the school officials at Sandy Hook, these people in WA need to be in jail for their negligence and complicity in these crimes. Stay armed, folks. Stay safe.

    18. Gun free zone except for the police. I’m not going to take my chances with the same people the police are armed against. The police show up after you’ve been robbed and/or shot, they have a firearm for their safety not yours. Arm up people and voice your opinion about these “Gun free zones”.

        1. You are living in a fantasy world if you think law enforcement carries guns for anything other than their own peotection.

      1. you are absolutely right Frank, “no guns zone.” With Soetoro’s regime winding down to less than a year, and all the negative media about muslims:( i have become more aware in everywhere i go and appreciate my right to defend myslef. If i had a choice to attend 2 State fairs offering the same services, one being no guns zone and the other State fair does not mention anything about banning firearms, of course i would support the State Fair where i could defend myself if need be.

    19. For the people who point out that it happened outside the gun free zone. – The robbers also knew that the victims had no way to materialize a gun walking out of a gun free zone. Think hard.

        1. think hard, ignore gun free zone sign’s, the life you save might be your own.
          @Clark Kent, I might have to steal your comment, and put it on a tee-shirt,
          although I can’t pay you any royalties. lol

    20. Why are you twisting the facts!!!!!!!
      This happened OUTSIDE of the Fairgrounds!
      You’re no better than the rest of media by fabricating bullshit for more readers!! We don’t need this crap! It’s bad enough we’re looked at as bad peopl. But, when you do this, it doesn’t help.

      1. The fair ground gates are NOT the end of their property! They also OWN most of the parking property surrounding the fair itself. If you abide by the “No gun inside the fair, WHERE are you going to keep the gun to put it back on when you get outside? The robberies were committed BEFORE the victims reached their vehicles!

      2. The important fact is they were disarmed because of the Fair’s “gun-free” policy, and the thugs knew it.

        The same scenario has happened to college students walking to and from their off-campus apartments. The thugs know they’re unarmed because there is no place for them to secure a weapon at the entrance to the “gun-free” campus.

        The only thing “twisted” here is the liberal logic that leads to gun-free zones.

      3. Consider the following though. He was leaving work, where firearms were banned. Yes, it did happen outside of the fair, but by virtue of the policy, he could not legally be armed on the way home because he would have had to bring the gun to a place where it is banned.

      4. Well, you are the nitwits on this issue. You just don’t get it, you can’t be armed at the fair, so just outside of the fairgrounds is a perfect place for that perfect crime. All those exiting the fairgrounds are unarmed. Get it?

      5. It happened outside the fairgrounds from which they had been seen leaving, thus assuring that they would be unarmed targets. It’s not like they had a locker right next to the entrance/exit to store a firearm for the day.

    21. The fair grounds hosts gun shows all the time, and they have multiple vendors inside the state fair that sell kitchen knives. I concealed carried and had a pocket knife clip visible and no one said a thing to me. I went to the fair a few days after these robberies and I wasn’t about to not protect myself and my g/f.

    22. The workers were robbed OUTSIDE of the fairgrounds. And there is no check for weapons at the gate; so unless you have a need to tell someone about your concealed weapon, no one will be the wiser. And by the way, YOU are responsible for your own protection.

      1. Unti someone rats you out , get arrested and charged under RCW 9.41.300 . Or you defend yourself and get arrested too.
        What really sucks is the worker is out his pay for the day , and will get nothing for his work . Some may say its only $100 , well it was his money , he worked for it. I hope the criminal gets shot , he deserves to die. The Fairgrounds should be providing armed security in the parking lot areas , since they disarmed everyone on a state law level.

        1. RCW 9.41.300 provides exemption for concealed pistol license holders. State preemption laws also protect discharge of a firearm prohibited under 9.4.300 by local law, if said discharge is in self defense.

          The absolute most that can happen if they find out you are carrying, is to ask you to leave. Failure to leave can get you trespassed but that is all. If you leave when asked nothing can be done to you. As long as you aren’t attending one of the music concerts as they fall under strict restrictions by RCW.

        2. RCW 9.41.300 doesn’t have any provision for charging anyone who has a CPL and carries at the Washington State Fair; it is just like any place of business; they can ask that you not carry all they want; they can deny you entry or kick you out if you are carrying (and they realize it), but it is not illegal, under almost any circumstances, for someone with a CPL to concealed carry just about anywhere. 9.41.300 provides the exceptions to this (and permit-less open carry); in those places it is the opposite; it is absolute, they don’t need to post or anything. If you concealed carry at a fair, don’t go to the beer garden (which is posted as 21 and older), and you will not be in violation of any law unless you are asked to leave and refuse.

        3. Eric – How would one be charged under RCW 9.41.300? I’m not challenging you, but want to make sure I understand the law correctly. Section 2a states that ordinances don’t abridge one’s right to bear arms in defense of self or others. And, the state fair is a publicly run entity, and therefore can not legally ban firearms and weapons for people with a legal concealed carry license, can they??

          1. Eric gave incorrect information. They can only ask you to leave. Also, it may be called the Wa State Fair but it’s not. It’s is privately owned and operated, meaning they can legally enact whatever restrictions they deem appropriate.
            It also means we are free to ignore their rules.

        4. According to RCW, the Puyallup fair grounds is not a prohibited place. It is private property and therefore the only charge could be trespassing if you didn’t leave after being asked to.

      2. Correction, they were TARGETED outside the fairground, right after work. The robbers knew they were unarmed, thus, making it the fair’s responsibility for violating their right to self protection.

        1. If the victims were OUTSIDE the fairgrounds, then the responsibility of the fair is zip. And how did the suspects know the victims were unarmed? Maybe someone took responsibility for their own safety and risked getting fired vs. getting robbed (and possibly shot).

          1. Realizing, reading and comprehension is apparently not your forte, I will make it simple for you. The victim’s were still in the parking lot owned by the State Fair. The State Fair has designated ALL of it’s lands to be gun free. The State Fair has an obligation under state law to provide protection from harm for actions that can be foreseen. Making the grounds a protection free zone would have knowingly made the grounds and people carrying cash, targets. This is why fairs hire deputies and security personnel. The fairgrounds failed to provide that security to people walking to their vehicles while STILL on the fair property.

      3. Yes Clark Kent, I agree with you SuperMan. If they are not patting everyone down to check for firearms then, ca sera sera, whatever will be will be.

    23. Those robbed should sue the State Fair for failure to provide adequate protection !!! If the State Fair takes away a person’s right to defend themselves, the the State Fair is responsible for providing that protection !!!!

      1. Exactly! Same with violence occurring in other gun free zones. If an entity takes away our right of self defense, the burden shifts directly to them to provide equal or better protection.

        1. Yes, I do believe, any event or business posting a “gun free zone sign” should be held responsible for everyone’s safety and loss of property! (It will be interesting when these cases hit the Courts).

      2. You’re exactly right ! Anyone denying your legal right to self protection should be liable for your losses, up and to death……

    24. Whenever I see a “gun free zone” I just go the other way. It is nothing but an advertisement to the criminals, at the least the ones that can read, to come and commit their crimes with impunity.

      1. Here in Florida, I personally ignore all “no guns on premises” signs (unless mandated by State Law). Why? Because some hippie liberal shopkeeper doesn’t write laws because they have a Sharpie. The best they can do is ask you to leave at which point you have to, but if I am effectively conceal-carrying my weapon, no one will know I have it.

        1. Same in Va. Owners of businesses, etc. can post that guns are not allowed. However, that is not the law and all they can do is tell you to leave. Va. law requires you comply with the owners request. If concealed they don’t know.

        2. I also live in the right to defend yourself state of Florida. I feel sorry for people in states that allow their citizens to be sheep lead to slaughter………..I would not spend my money at a business that is a gun free zone and I would let them know that I will not be a willing victim…….

      2. There is nothing in that state fair worth me dying for.
        They are lucky that it was a couple of thieves looking for a few bucks and not some twisted kid looking for infamy.

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