Schaefer's gun ban is a shamGovernor Schaefer's proposed...

the Forum

February 12, 1992

Schaefer's gun ban is a sham

Governor Schaefer's proposed "Assault Weapons Act of 1992" would ban 60 or more so-called "assault weapons" because of their menacing, military-style appearance. A true assault weapon is a firearm automatic. Such firearms have been strictly regulated by federal law since 1934. Absolutely none of the firearms Schaefer wants to ban are assault weapons. This misnomer is intended to stigmatize a category of semi-automatic firearms in order to facilitate their prohibition.

Enacting such legislation would largely affect law-abiding citizens, not criminals. It is a cruel hoax that misleads citizens to believe that effective measures are being taken to reduce crime.

In 1988 the Handgun Review Board was created. Every so-calle "assault pistol" presently available for retail sale in Maryland has been approved by the board. Why should such firearms now be banned? In 1989 a list of so-called "assault rifles" was made subject to the seven-day waiting period and criminal background check for retail sales. If Schaefer's purpose is to keep these firearms out of the hands of criminals, why should they now be banned? Moreover, similar laws in California and New Jersey have proven unenforceable.

Schaefer's motive seems mere advocacy of what the liberal establishment has deemed to be politically correct. The Maryland General Assembly should reject the proposal.

Vernon Gray

Lexington Park

The writer is president of Sanner's Lake Sportsman Club.

Israeli stonewalling

Israeli leaders' intransigence in the peace talks is evidence of their deep reluctance to allow the Palestinian problem to be brought out in full public view where it can at least be identified for the festering injustice it is. Israeli insistence on prescribing the time, place, and with whom they will talk is indicative of their non-interest in any real discussion.

The Israelis possession of nuclear weapons no doubt contributes to their bullying stance.

One can only surmise that the purpose of Israeli stonewalling over place and time and substance of the negotiations is to buy extra time to hone their arguments against Palestinian autonomy, throw up a few more houses in the occupied territories and show conference participants and observers that Israel will have the upper hand from the start.

Doris Rausch

Columbia

Teen-bashing

I was boiling mad after reading Kevin Cowherd's Jan. 31 column, in which he starts off referring to those "bratty 15-year-olds" ` the baby sitters.

First, not all 15-year-olds are "bratty." I have a 15-year-old granddaughter who baby-sits. She is a sweet, gentle girl who has all the jobs she can handle because of the way she takes care of those in her charge. Maybe they do make good pay these days, but that, too, must keep up with the times. No, she does not have beer parties. Maybe some do, but why judge them all the same? Yes, she does take her homework with her, but it is so she can keep up her school grades.

I'm sure there must be others who do good jobs, too. MrCowherd owes an apology to the teens he is bashing. He must be desperate for material to stoop this low.

Olive M. Hawkins

Baltimore

Bashing each other

News reports of remarks by Yoshio Sakurauchi, speaker of the Japanese Diet, are particularly disturbing to Japanese-Americans. Unfortunately, this is not the first time such remarks were made by Japanese high officials. Although all of these officials expressed regret for their opinions, such comments will not be easily forgotten.

When I first arrived in America 35 years ago, people treated me with nothing but respect. After World War II, when Japan was in turmoil, America was the first country to step in and help Japan rebuild.

Can the Japanese have forgotten this friendship so quickly? Have we fallen so rapidly from friendship into misunderstanding? For instance, can Americans really believe that it is so simple as demanding Japan buy more American cars ` when the steering wheel of American cars is on the wrong side for Japanese drivers? Likewise, I do not believe the Japanese really think that Americans are lazy. We must work toward educating both countries about one another. The Japanese people do not want this important relationship to continue to deteriorate.

Many American and Japanese volunteers in Maryland and Baltimore have been working together diligently for over a decade to bridge the differences between our two countries. To move toward mutual understanding, both countries need to be open-minded and tolerant. I hope America will continue to be open-minded. At the same time, we ask no less of the Japanese.

Hiroshi Nakazawa

D4

The writer is a general surgeon in Catonsville.

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