Regional Roundup

September 12, 1993

The following editorial appeared in another zoned edition of The Baltimore Sun recently.

What if Thomas Joseph Cummings had not been carrying a gun when he walked into the Severna Park Dunkin' Donuts last Thursday? No one can say for sure, but he and Charles Hottel Willis, the Severna Park college student he shot to death, probably would still be alive.

There are many other ways to kill besides firing a bullet. However, no other method can be carried out so quickly, so impulsively, so effectively. . . .

The National Rifle Association and others who stubbornly oppose gun control are loath to acknowledge the connection between guns and this country's staggering crime rate: killing happens more often because it's easier here. Guns make it easier and it is so easy to get a gun. No one knows where Mr. Cumming got his, whether he purchased it legally or after a background check. (He did not have a license to carry the weapon.) What is painfully clear is that he never should have had one. . . .

Study after study shows that virtually none of the thousands of guns floating about ends up being used for protection. They're used in suicides. Or accidents and heat-of-the-moment domestic disputes. Or, they end up in the hands of someone like Thomas Cummings, who had no criminal record until one night when his mind snapped in a donut shop during an argument over a dime-store pen. . . . Aug. 30.

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