Editor: For all students of the Constitution, here is the Second Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to bear Arms shall not be infringed."
It says nothing of sporting, hunting, collecting, or ''personal protection.'' It gives no definition for the terms used. However, the sentence clearly states the purpose. Since the U.S. had no standing army, each ''free State'' would need a ''well regulated Militia.''
The point is, the Constitution is only as perfect as we are. We should always keep in mind the time in which it was written and, most importantly, the purpose of each section.
Editor: Our two senators, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, while paying lip service about the dire straits of the nation's economy, have introduced a bill to create a government commission to celebrate the bicentennial of the Democratic Party. Where are their priorities?
The problem with our economy can easily be traced to the enormous federal debt. With the government forced to borrow greater amounts of money, there is less money for businesses to use for capital improvements, research or development.
There also is less money available for consumers to use for homes, cars and college tuition. In addition, the federal government takes 25 percent off each paycheck for taxes. American businesses and families aren't competing with the Japanese and Europeans, they are competing with the federal government.
Unfortunately, Maryland's two senators are only adding to the burden of American families and businesses. Their record of reducing federal spending is abysmal. This commission bill is only the latest example.
Our only hope is if Maryland's senators boldly step forward with a pro-growth economic proposal, one that makes meaningful cuts in government spending and lessens the tax burden from top to bottom. The bumper-sticker economic policy isn't going to cut it anymore.
Editor: Air pollution, specifically ozone (commonly known as smog), remains a major health threat in Maryland.
The public is tired of the outrageous and preposterous cost estimates and job loss figures cited by industries that produce the products causing the pollution. The reality is that the health -- costs of air pollution are staggering: the American Lung Association estimates that the cost is $50 billion nationwide. Our children, the elderly and especially the 600,000 Marylanders with lung disease, are at extremely high risk for health problems caused by air pollution.
In its Dec. 18 letter, the Maryland Petroleum Council cites a report which estimates ''severe impact on the area's economy.'' This analysis is based on inaccurate assumptions; therefore its conclusions are flawed. The Low Emission Vehicle Program will not be implemented until 1995, long after we anticipate our current economic downturn to be over. Further, the program will be phased in over eight years.
The state Department of the Environment has thoroughly examined the air pollution problem and has determined that Maryland cannot meet the Clean Air Act's requirements without adopting the California Low Emission Vehicle Program. If Maryland does not comply with the Clean Air Act, we will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal transportation money and we will suffer severe economic sanctions which will kill future growth. Additionally, the federal government will seize control of Maryland's air quality planning.
Maryland needs to move ahead now to clean the air. The oil industry says hold your breath and do more studies. The necessary studies have been done. For the health of our children, we cannot afford additional delays.
John B. Slaughter II.
The writer is president of the American Lung Association of Maryland.
Editor: We all realize the state is in financial trouble. The legislature could change things if it had the courage to put a little more tax on horse-racing.
Years ago, they lowered the tax way down to almost nothing because it was too high. Now it could stand an increase, to pull us out of the shortage and most likely reduce our debt.
If -- and that's a big if -- the boys in Annapolis had enough courage to pass an increase, it would help the poor and the state to get back on their feet.
Lewis R. Curlett Jr.
Editor: If Texaco drills near the Potomac River we risk irreversible environmental damage similar to what we experienced at other drilling and production sites such as Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.
The answer to our energy needs is not drilling for oil or natural gas, but using safe, alternative energy sources such as solar.
When will this state and country stop bowing to pressure from the oil industry and do what is best for all life on earth -- not what is best for big business?
Jeanne M. Ruddock.