Myths about assault rifles and crimeYour Feb. 5 editorial...

the Forum

February 11, 1991

Myths about assault rifles and crime

Your Feb. 5 editorial, "A national gun ban" is, as are virtually all of The Evening Sun's editorials concerning firearms, ye

another splendid example of the type of one-sided, exaggerated and wholly unsubstantiated propaganda that we so often see from the gun-control lobby.

You say: ". . . they [the so-called assault weapons] have become a favorite of drug dealers and other criminals . . ." I ask you to consider the following: According to the Baltimore County Police, during the first nine months of 1990 the weapons logged into the property room for any reason consisted of 381 handguns, 103 rifles, 160 shotguns and only two so-called assault weapons ` less than 1 percent! Weapon of choice, huh?

Many would probably say, "Well, that's in the county, but what about the city?" Answer: According to the Baltimore City Police, there were 305 murders in the city last year. The weapons used were 207 handguns, 53 knives, 38 other [kinds of weapons] and only 7 (2.3 percent) rifles and shotguns combined.

Finally, according to the state police, rifles and shotguns combined were used in 54 out of 540 murders statewide in 1989. Why don't the city and state figures list assault weapons separately? This is because, aside from aesthetics, the so-called assault weapons are functionally no different from any other semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and are thus included in the rifle and shotgun figures. In any case, the state police employee with whom I spoke said that, to his knowledge, none of the firearms in the statewide figures was a so-called assault weapon.

Clearly these statistics, which are consistent with nationwide figures, indicate that so-called assault weapons are at most very rarely used in crime.

Ronald S. Bank


Absent fathers

On Feb. 4, 1991, The Evening Sun ran a picture of an unwe mother and four children. There was a write-up about what a difficult time this mother was having raising her children on her income. The family was seated in a living room with television, VCR and tape machines. The family was clothed very well. My 12-year-old neighbor wanted to know why an unwed mother could have these luxuries while her father and mother both worked to support three children.

The photo upset my elderly neighbors: This is what our taxes are used for? Where are the fathers of these children?

Margaret McMahon


Baseball salaries

The salaries of baseball players today seem to me to be among the great wonders of the world. That one man can make in a single year what most people only dream about making in a lifetime amazes and angers me. It infuriates me to see athletes such as these living in the lap of luxury at a time when homeless people are struggling to survive and at a time when money for AIDS and cancer research is so desperately needed. This distribution of funds makes no sense.

What are these players being paid this obscene amount of money to do? To knock a baseball around a ballpark? Does that warrant Oakland Athletic Jose Canseco's making nearly $25 million over a four-year period? Is Jose a better and more giving man because of his wealth? Ask the kids at the Topp's Baseball Card Convention. Jose, the guest of honor, didn't bother to show up.

True, it can be stated that certain baseball players have a unique talent, or that they offer something remarkable to the game. But can this justify their salaries? I believe there are worthy causes and people far more deserving and in dire need of financial assistance. After all, medical research for AIDS and cancer could surely put the money to better use than most baseball players would. Couldn't it?

Lori Sears


Dumb taxes

The individuals who think up new taxes must be millionaires who will not miss the extra money. Some of these new taxes are ridiculous.

Example: The 2 percent tax on cars and boats. We pay a tax when buying, pay tax on gas, pay tax on parts and repairs, pay for emission testing (same as a tax), tags, etc. Now they want to add a 2 percent tax every year just because you own a vehicle or a boat. This is crazy.

Low- and middle-income people who need a vehicle for work are really getting hit from all directions. If the politicians would stop spending, raising salaries and pensions, wasting money, they would not need the extra money.

They may as well pass a bill to have our employers mail our payroll checks to them. Then we can all live in poverty, except the politicians.

T. Klein


Support for troops

It has been three weeks since the dreaded war started. Since then, cities have been bombed, families are torn apart and there are American prisoners of war. These are just a few things war can do. Many lives can be taken, hearts can be broken, innocent people can be hurt. Even though I am only 12 years old, my opinion is that war is wrong. Why can't people learn to live in peace? Who cares if gasoline prices go up? I don't.

From what I've written so far, it may seem that I am against the war. That's not true. I support the U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia 100 percent. Why? Because they are fighting for a reason. That reason is freedom.

Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, invaded the small country of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990. On that day, Kuwait lost its freedom. The United States decided to help Kuwait get back its freedom because we realized that about 200 years ago, America was in the same situation. We wanted our freedom from England, so we fought for it. This was known as the American Revolution.

Iraq has already bombed Israel, and who knows what it plans to do next. All that we can do is send letters and pray that this conflict will end soon and the servicemen and women will come home safe, sound and soon.

Shawna Brophy


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