After much hesitation and concern, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will allow a gun show in Prince George’s County for the first time since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. In February 2013, the county placed a 'temporary moratorium' on all gun shows in order to take 'guns off the streets.'
This year, backlash forced the commission to reconsider. They have given the green light for the event, with some restrictions.
No live ammunition allowed on the premises of the Show Place Arena, where the show will take place. No dry-firing weapons. All firearms must have trigger locks. And at least five park police officers must be on duty providing security.
The NRA said that banning live ammo at a gun show is extremely rare, according to The Washington Post.
Additionally, the agency required a $12,000 rental fee and $5,000 more for security.
Safety precautions are important, especially in the wake of mass shootings, but do these guidelines go too far?
“I think they are trying to make it as hard as possible for a legal gun show to be held in the county,” said Dan Blasberg, president of Maryland Shall Issue, a gun rights advocacy organization.
After the Sandy Hook shooting, Maryland’s General Assembly thought stricter gun rules would help solve some of the violence. The Firearm Safety Act, signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, made it a misdemeanor to possess or use specified firearm ammunition during the commission of a crime of violence, limit the authorization for a person to wear, carry or transport a handgun, and designate some firearms as assault weapons.
The Old Line State wasn’t the only one with this mindset. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the SAFE Act into law in 2013, which banned the sale of AR-15s, defining the firearm as an assault weapon and expanding background checks for gun sales for gun owners and ammunition dealers.
Do these laws really promote peace? In March, two years after the SAFE Act was enforced, Reuters reported a 22 percent rise in shooting victims in New York City.
Despite these statistics, anti-gun politicians will continue to exploit tragedy to enforce their agendas.
Jack McCauley, a retired state police officer, said Maryland should be focusing their efforts elsewhere.
“I’m not sure what the security risk is. These [gun shows] are not your source of violence.”