Ban on ads unfair to gun ownersYour newspaper's recent...

the Forum

April 06, 1993

Ban on ads unfair to gun owners

Your newspaper's recent decision to drop advertisements for used rifles, shotguns and pistols was certainly a blow to me and other gun collectors.

We do not shoot or hold up anyone. We do not peddle guns to children or drug dealers. We just enjoy the camaraderie and challenge of our hobby.

If there have been abuses at gun shows there should be arrests. If present laws are inadequate the legislature should take action.

The Baltimore Sun apparently is too impatient to wait for those solutions to the alleged problems involved. It chooses instead to abridge everyone's free speech rights.

I guess freedom of speech is fine for those who agree with the only newspaper in town. Now, who will be your next target?

Robert L. Dunker Jr.

Baltimore

____________

Thank you for giving me more space in my recycle bin. Since I won't be subscribing to your paper any longer, I'll have more room for pet food cans.

One of the main reasons I purchased your paper was for the classified section. I am a gun enthusiast, I belong to the NRA and I am a gun range member.

When did you decide to try to control the public's behavior? Do you operate on a government subsidy? Are you affiliated with the Washington Post?

I am not alone in my anger with your new policy to ban all gun ads. I can only hope you will reconsider your decision so that I and others will resume our subscriptions.

Remember the News American? You may be the only game in town, but we don't have to play.

James Davis

Baltimore

Federal workers are tired of having to 'do more with less'

This is in response to the letter from William M. Coughlin Jr. (Forum, March 25) concerning "whining federal employees." Mr. Coughlin appears to operate, as most of his type do, from a position of ignorance concerning federal jobs and how much they pay. He bases his opinions on hearsay and scuttlebutt.

I work for the federal government and have for 24 years. When I entered the federal service, I did so after taking an exam called the FSEE (Federal Service Entrance Exam). I had to have a college degree to even take the exam. In order to enter at the grade I wanted, I had to score a 95 or better on the test. After entering service, I attended graduate school and eventually went to law school and obtained a law degree. I am licensed in both Maryland and Washington. I am currently running a department charged with recovering millions of dollars owed the government retirement system.

My staff consists of only 11 people; we need 20 to do the job right. Our budget is so small we still have rotary phones. We constantly pinch pennies on office supplies. We seldom have any overtime, and last year our training and incentives money was again reduced, and for all practical purposes eliminated. I am tired of being asked to "do more with less."

My staff is hard-working and dedicated. They have to be. We are managing 6,000 accounts with only 11 people. Most of my employees earn in the low $20,000's. They must pay 7 percent of their salary into retirement or Social Security and retirement. They pay for their own life insurance. If they need a family health insurance plan, they will pay up to $350 a month for that coverage. With all my education, experience and responsibility, I earn less than $50,000 a year. But then I didn't enter government service to get rich.

My sister and brother both work for private industry. Both made almost as much as I did last year. Both have their life and health insurance paid for by the employer. Both get bonuses, and my sister has a 401K plan and stock options. While the government now has a 401K plan, it doesn't make a profit to share, and there are no bonuses to speak of. Under the new federal employees retirement system, my employees are required to pay into the plan if they want a decent retirement, because the 401K plan (Thrift Savings Plan) was factored into the retirement to provide "a substantial portion" of the retirement benefit.

However, as far as I know, none of my employees can afford to put money into the plan, because they barely exist on their wage.

Today, a new, college-educated employee entering federal service will make only 65 percent of what a new teacher starting for Prince George's County will. The police and firemen also make more than a college-educated federal employee (starting salary for a entry level college graduate is about $18,000). Unless the federal employee eventually enters management, he/she will never make as much as the teacher or the police.

The reason we are upset is that we have known for years that, in many instances, we were receiving substantially less than our private sector counterparts. Indeed, the government even recognizes this and in some acute shortage areas is offering higher entry levels and "special" rates to attract employees. Now that we are on the verge, via federal law, of being brought up to parity, we are suddenly told that we need to be the "example" again.

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