Maryland's top law official pulled two "Saturday Night Special" handguns from underneath his business suit to make a point at a breakfast for gun control advocates.
Bishop L. Robinson, the secretary of public safety and correctional services, pulled out the guns to illustrate how easily they could be concealed, stunning guests invited to Gov. William Donald Schaefer's fund-raising breakfast Friday morning."My God, it was so dramatic," said Harold C. Donofrio, an advertising executive. "Bishop does not dress in loose clothing. . . . Not a bulge anywhere.
"All of a sudden, he gets a gun from inside his belt, and the next thing you know he's got this thing in the palm of his hand. He passes that one off to someone, reaches somewhere else and gets another gun," Donofrio said.
Schaefer invited 40 supporters to the private breakfast to raise funds to back Maryland's handgun control bill, the first of its kind in the nation, whose fate will be decided in a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot.
After Robinson's demonstration, they came up with on-the-spot pledges of an estimated $75,000 to $100,000 to help support the bill.
Schaefer signed the bill, in May.
However, a group called the Maryland Committee Against the Gun Ban, with support from the National Rifle Association, conducted a vigorous campaign to repeal the law, submitting enough petition signatures to bring the issue before state voters.