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Gun Show Ban Struck Down in Maryland

Friday, October 12, 2001

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis struck down an attempt by the Montgomery County (Md.) Council to abolish gun shows held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Agricultural Center. The Council passed a law strictly regulating where gun shows could be held last May, capitulating to the demands of a handful of anti-gun extremists. However, the fairgrounds are privately owned, and because it is located in the City of Gaithersburg, the Council was prohibited by state law from imposing a specific ban on gun shows held there. In an attempt to circumvent this law, the Council added a provision that would prohibit county funding for any group that allows gun shows. Because the fairgrounds receives grants from the county, its board was compelled to prohibit any future gun shows. Judge Garbis held that, "Montgomery County has no power to regulate the sale of firearms within the City of Gaithersburg," and that the funding restriction passed by the council constituted "a gun sale regulation enacted by Montgomery County in the guise of a discretionary spending provision."

The intended target of the Montgomery County Council was Silverado Promotions, run by gun show promoter Frank Krasner. Silverado has held gun shows at the fairgrounds for a decade. It was Krasner`s suit, with assistance from NRA, that led to last week`s ruling. County officials have indicated that they intend to appeal this ruling, and we can expect anti-gun extremists to attempt to force the City of Gaithersburg to enact its own ban. NRA will continue to monitor this issue as it develops.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.