The National Rifle Association is shaken by its defeat in a fight to ban cheap handguns in Maryland, and gun control advocates claim the ripple effect will bring them gains elsewhere. The Maryland fight was over a law that would ban the sale and manufacture of cheap handguns by 1990. But voters approved the law 58-42 percent, and gun control proponents are calling the campaign a victory that shows the NRA, which spent at least $4 million on the campaign, is not unbeatable. "The public finally saw the NRA for what is was - a bunch of bullies who tried to buy an election," said Ricki Baker, a spokeswoman for the Citizens for Eliminating Saturday Night Specials.