Bill Would Ban Serial-killer Cards

February 18, 1992|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

Del. Elizabeth Smith has vowed that her grandson will never trade a Jeffery Dahmer card the way he might Cal Ripken's.

Smith, a Davidsonville Republican, has sponsored legislation that would ban serial-killer trading cards in Maryland.

The bill would make it illegal to buy, sell, trade or possess thecards.

"I don't think they should be in the hands of kids," said Smith, whose 7-year-old grandson has collected trading cards since hewas 3.

"I know how they use these cards. They become their heroes."

The trading cards, similar to those featuring baseball players,are to be released in May by a California-based publisher. They willinclude the stories and color portraits of 55 convicted killers, including Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

"I can't see anything in these cards that would bring anything other than horror, murder and Satan-type cult things to young people's minds," said Del. Tyras S. "Bunk"Athey, D-Jessup, who co-sponsored the legislation.

"It's just a moneymaker for whoever is producing them, preying on our children again."

The publisher, Eclipse Enterprises, has defended the cards, saying they are identical to news reports on the killers. The company said it expects to sell relatively few cards to young people. The suggested price is 99 cents for a pack of 12 cards.

Victims' advocateshave blasted the cards for glorifying murder and murderers. Moreover, they say, the cards reopen wounds inflicted upon the families of the dead.

Though some lawmakers have suggested the bill is unconstitutional, Smith said she has received verbal support and also has begun to receive inquiries from other states.

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