License GunsPeter A. Jay sets up a straw man in his Feb...


February 20, 1994

License Guns

Peter A. Jay sets up a straw man in his Feb. 10 gun control column. Contrary to Mr. Jay's contention, the issue of reasonable gun control does not polarize Americans by culture.

To the contrary, opinion polls continue to show overwhelming public support for reasonable measures to reduce the number and types of guns that are making our streets, schools and public places into war zones.

What better proof can there be of this widespread support than the rally held recently in Annapolis in support of HB 1283?

The rally, attended by more than 1,000 people from organizations as diverse as the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, the Maryland State Teachers Association and numerous churches and civic organizations, demonstrates the strength and unity of Marylanders on this issue.

Mr. Jay's proposed compromise (requiring a license to carry, but not to own, a firearm) is ludicrous. This may be sufficient for automobiles, because it is rare for a stolen vehicle to be used in anything more serious than a joy-ride ending in vandalism.

Even when a stolen car is used in a crime, the weapon of choice is still a gun. In contrast, stolen guns are almost always used in violent crime, and it is therefore necessary to license all gun-owners and require registration of all their firearms.

In addition to licensure, HB 1283 limits handgun purchases to two per person per year and bans the high-capacity ammunition magazines that are so frequently used for drive-by killings and have no legitimate non-criminal use. What could be more reasonable?

Mr. Jay should stop looking for polarization where none exists and proposing non-solutions to the gun epidemic.

Instead, he should join his fellow Marylanders in the STAGE (Standing Together Against the Gun Epidemic) Coalition, and urge the General Assembly to enact HB 1283 this session.

Sheldon H. Laskin


Victims Rights

I would like to correct some of Barry Rascovar's misconceptions and mistakes about Property Taxpayers United in his Feb. 6 column.

First of all, PTU did not "turn on Del. Robert Ehrlich at the first opportunity." It is just one issue, crime victim's rights, that we feel Mr. Ehrlich should be supporting. He did not back the fore-runner to House Bill 423 at the last legislative session, but does back it now.

The amendment to this bill restores rights and benefits to victims of crime. I think it is very wrong for Mr. Rascovar to call the amendment a "feel good measure."

Second, PTU has not "branched far from its mission of equitable property tax assessments and lower tax rates." The organization has always been strongly supportive of anti-crime legislation and the protection of our lives and homes against legislation.

Third, we do call Baltimore County Executive Roger Hayden a "weasel," but not for the reason cited by Mr. Rascovar. The county executive weaseled his way out of many promises made to the citizens prior to his election.

He has turned off many former supporters. The Sun even stated, "The county executive has made many enemies."

And as for name-calling, I don't know of any other Sun writer who name-calls more than Mr. Rascovar. His favorites for citizens who oppose unfair taxation are, "anti-tax zealots," "fanatics" and "crazies."

Last, to set the record straight, PTU has no "personal agendas." Political, yes, but not personal.

David Boyd

White Hall

E9 The writer is president of Property Taxpayers United.

Devil Work

Philistines! Cannibals! Feeding on the carcass of your own printing history!

Of course, I am referring to the photograph of a California type drawer filled with a variety of (horror) beans that appeared in the Jan. 30 Food Section. I am doubtful that Johann Gutenberg ever envisioned such an ignoble ending for printing equipment.

Those of us who print with movable type face a constant battle to obtain equipment and supplies at a reasonable cost. The shift of California job cases from an efficient, basic piece of equipment to arcane, American kitsch has made them difficult to obtain.

Our cause is ill-served when the opposition is supported by members of the printing community. Perhaps you are the true printer's devil.

Gordon Fluke


BWI Safety

In the Feb. 6 Arts & Entertainment section of your paper, you ran a story called "Terminal Excess." After reading the story I was appalled by the amount of money the Maryland Aviation Administration plans to spend at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

I am a wife of one of BWI's airport fire fighters. The BWI Fire Department has been notified that the MAA is seeking a private for-profit company to take over the Fire Rescue Service. It says they can save money by doing this. The state will still pay for the fire houses, equipment and maintenance on all equipment. The private contractor will provide personnel only.

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