WASHINGTON — A decision by a Maryland county is roiling the already contentious debate over potential gun control laws.
Prince George’s County’s Department of Parks and Recreation is banning gun shows indefinitely.
“It is a temporary moratorium. We will revisit this,” says Anita Pesses with the agency’s Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. “We are taking everybody’s opinions and actions into account.”
Pesses is promising the department will re-evaluate its decision after lawmakers in D.C. and Annapolis are done debating possible gun control bills.
“We felt that given the potential legislation on the state and the federal level, we are putting a hold on that activity for now until we can reassess after the legislative session.”
The move includes only shows that would take place on county-owned land and has led to the cancellation of at least one event.
The Silverado Gun Show was slated for the holiday weekend, but it has been scrapped.
“This is legal trade we’re talking about, not the black market,” Frank Krasner told the paper.
“This not only took money out of my pocket, but close to 100 exhibitors.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker says the moratorium on gun shows was necessary to take “guns off the streets.”
“You see the violence going on with our young people. The last thing we need are gun shows,” he says.
However, Gene Belotserkovsky, owner of the company Maryland Gun Training Center in Owings Mills, says the gun show ban and potential legislation are ineffective and overreaching moves by the state.
“Fewer guns on the street has nothing to do with fewer guns in the hands of criminals,” Belotserkovsky says. “If you limit access to guns for people who seek them for self-defense, how does that make them safer?”
He adds that he immigrated to the United States in 1989 knowing he would have certain rights, but recent developments have made him question his freedoms.
“Now they are just trying to take those rights away,” he says.