ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – Efforts by gun control zealots to have gun shows banned from public property in Maryland clearly demonstrates their duplicity when they claim to support gun rights, said the head of a national gun rights group today.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said Maryland firearms owners should be outraged by efforts to prevent gun shows on property or in facilities that are owned or funded by the government.

“When law enforcement says gun shows follow all existing laws and requirements, and insists that Maryland has closed the so-called ‘gun show loophole’,” Gottlieb said, “then gun show opponents need to be honest and acknowledge that their concerns have nothing to do with public safety, but everything to do with people legally buying and owning firearms.”

During recent hearings in Maryland’s Montgomery County, gun show critics claimed that their efforts were to protect the “safety of our children” and that gun shows are “crawling with…people looking for the things going on in the back of trucks.”

Gottlieb responded: “For years, anti-gun extremists have trotted out the lame excuse that their attacks on firearms civil rights were ‘for the children.’ This isn’t about child safety, and they know it. Despite law enforcement assurances that gun show operators conduct their operations under the letter of the law, Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse, the MMM and others still are not satisfied, and the reason is simple. They want to prevent legal gun purchases, and they also want to stop firearms owners from gathering at such shows, and organizing to defend their rights.”

Further, Gottlieb noted, gun shows have been protected as a constitutional form of free speech by a 1995 Florida case and a 1997 California court decision.

“Not only are gun show opponents trying to destroy our Second Amendment rights,” Gottlieb observed, “they are now openly attempting to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of gun owners. As I’ve said all along, once these extremists are allowed to trample on one civil right, they’ll start trampling on all the other rights.”

Pointing to Maryland’s already-tough firearms laws, Gottlieb concluded, “This new gun show controversy clearly demonstrates how insidious the gun control philosophy has become. If anti-gunners can browbeat elected officials into taking an action already held by the courts to be unconstitutional, the good citizens of Maryland are facing a far more sinister challenge than some imagined problem with gun shows.”