Maryland’s gun-control law aimed at “Saturday night specials” easily won approval from voters, George Bush narrowly beat Michael S. Dukakis in the presidential race and Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes overwhelmingly won a third term.
In the race for Maryland’s 10 electoral votes, Bush had 798,541 votes, or 51%, and Dukakis had 776,547, or 49% with 98% of the precincts reporting.
Maryland voters rejected by 58% to 42% a measure to repeal a 6-month-old state law effectively banning cheap handguns. The National Rifle Assn. had poured more than $4 million into a media campaign to repeal it.
Both sides said the outcome in Maryland could affect the future of gun-control efforts nationally.
Michael Beard of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns called the referendum “the most significant vote in the last five to 10 years” on gun control.
Sarbanes was headed for a landslide victory over neo-conservative Alan L. Keyes.