- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2001

The Montgomery County Council yesterday postponed until May 16 a vote on legislation that would ban gun shows at multipurpose exhibit facilities and prohibit facilities that allow guns to be displayed from receiving county funds.
The move marks the second time in two weeks that the council has delayed action so it can consider amendments to the measure sponsored by council President Blair Ewing, a Democrat.
If approved, the bill would affect two gun shows in the county — both at the privately held but publicly subsidized Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. Both shows are run by Frank Krasners Silverado Promotions, a Frederick County company that is the only gun-show operator in Maryland.
The council is expected to consider the bill today, as well as a proposal from council member Isiah Leggett to extend the gun ban only to facilities that receive county funds.
His proposal also would prohibit other public activities at any facility, public or private, during events involving the display and sale of guns.
Mr. Krasner argues the proposals are unconstitutional attempts to limit commercial free speech.
Mr. Leggett, an at-large Democrat and Howard University law professor, said he believes the county governments authority to impose reasonable limitations to ensure public health and safety allows the county to enact such prohibitions.
But council member Marilyn Praisner said yesterday she thinks plans to require the fairgrounds board to give up county funds are unfair, and she asked council staff to look at other measures such as requiring that no other events be held at the fairgrounds during gun shows.
Mrs. Praisner, a Democrat who heads the councils Management and Fiscal Policy Committee, said banning direct use of county funds for gun shows would be reasonable, but that any nexus between taxpayer dollars used to support the fairgrounds and a subsidy to gun shows held there is tenuous at best.
Delaying the vote until May 16 allows time to draft amendments addressing Mrs. Praisners concerns.
Mr. Ewing said many people dont want their families exposed to such events and the "kind of literature" found there, which he says includes neo-Nazi materials.
Mr. Krasner dismissed Mr. Ewings remarks as "lies."
Maryland law requires anyone who buys a gun at a Silverado show to pass a background check just as required at a gun shop, Mr. Krasner said.
State police say Mr. Krasner and his shows have a clean record.
Mr. Krasner said he challenges Mr. Ewing to find any Nazi material or hate literature at his shows.
"Im a Jew — do you think Id allow that?" Mr. Krasner said. "I take 'never again really seriously."
Montgomery County already bans guns at parks, places of worship, schools, public libraries and government-owned or -operated recreation facilities.

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