Why Huff Voted Against Gun BillNow that the vote of Senate...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 24, 1994

Why Huff Voted Against Gun Bill

Now that the vote of Senate Bill 619 has taken place and this gun legislation has been adopted, I would like to take a moment to explain my decision to oppose this bill. My primary concern regarding this and all gun legislation is to determine what impact it will have on criminals. In other words, I want to make sure that our vote does something.

In the past, I have voted for gun legislation which will be effective. I supported the seven-day waiting period and the formation of a special Gun Board that banned Saturday Night Specials. These so-called Saturday Night Specials (which cost between $5 and $25) were readily accessible to children and extremely dangerous due to their cheap design and consequent inaccuracy.

Unfortunately, the piece of gun legislation which was just passed does nothing more than make a statement. . . . The bill lacks the "teeth" to punish the criminals who are using guns illegally. It is the law-abiding gun collector who will be punished by the new restrictions.

Many of these collectors are servicemen who have a deep respect for the right to bear arms. Collectors (e.g., servicemen, members of the business community and others who own guns -- yes, even automatics) are meticulous when they care for guns just like those who have an interest in stamps, coins, swords and model railroads, which I myself collect. Consider the individual who collects cars. Although cars are sometimes involved in collisions which cause fatalities, we do not take away all cars. Rather, we take those who drive irresponsibly off the road.

There were failed attempts to amend the gun legislation aimed ** at punishing criminals. For example, one amendment would have required that those persons who use guns in committing crimes would be subjected to separate (stiffer) punishments. Another would have prohibited grants of parole, and a final was intended to place rifles and guns in the same category.

Nevertheless, those who were quick to take the guns away from law-abiding citizens were not so concerned with "putting teeth" in the bill to require tougher punishments on those who actually misuse their guns. I therefore voted against Senate Bill 619 because I believe it will only impact the collector, rather than punish the criminals who are presently wreaking havoc in our nation.

Ray Huff

Pasadena

The writer is a state delegate in District 31.

Tracking Needed

Eliminating tracking -- the prescription for schools in Susan Reimer's March 10 column -- would be a disaster for students with advanced abilities.

Our 11-year-old daughter spent fourth and fifth grades in an essentially untracked elementary school in Anne Arundel County. that the slower students could be brought up to speed, her teachers found it necessary to repeatedly return to material she already understood.

She was never challenged and she was frequently bored. Two years of struggle with the school system did nothing to alleviate the problem.

Regular classroom teachers simply don't have the time to give gifted students the special attention they need. Anne Arundel County has special resource teachers who can be called in to work with gifted students, but they are stretched too thinly to be effective.

We have the same right as the parents of a slower learner to expect an appropriate education for our child. . . .

Howard J. Brickman

Annapolis

For Kids

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Anne Arundel County is pleased to report that this year's "Bowl for Kids' Sake" was a tremendous success. This year's event took place at the Ritchie Fairlanes in Glen Burnie and generated more than $8,000 in combined pledges and cash to expand our services for area children. . . .

The money that was raised will go to support one-on-one friendships between adult volunteers and at-risk children. These relationships provide adult companionship and guidance to children who lack the support of an extended dual-parent family.

Studies have shown that these matches are capable of producing miraculous changes in a child stemming from an improved sense of self-worth. The results range from better personal relationship and higher achievement in school to a greater sense of community belonging.

The $1,500 cost to match a child with a Big Brother or Big Sister and support that match for the first year is minimal compared to the $13,000 cost to taxpayers when a child enters the juvenile justice system, or the even more dramatic $18,000 to $150,000 per year for institutionalization of a troubled child.

There is no charge to the recipients of our service and the agency is governed by a volunteer board of directors.

We salute our volunteers and the community for its support and caring. . . .

Vicki Lomax

Annapolis

A Boost for Glen Burnie

As mentioned in previous editions of your newspaper, the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce has as one of its major agenda items for 1994 the revitalization of the downtown area of Glen Burnie.

We, therefore, were delighted to read an article in The Sun on April 1, which revealed at long last that a portion of the vacant buildings adjacent to Gov. Ritchie Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard are actively under redevelopment.

The chamber commends Aspen Joint Ventures for its initiative in making structural as well as cosmetic repairs to its building, and we hope that this effort is a catalyst toward revitalization of the remainder of the downtown Glen Burnie area.

The Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce will continue to work along with the Anne Arundel County government in fostering economic redevelopment of the area.

We also commend the Anne Arundel County government for its efforts in working along with the chamber and the citizens of Glen Burnie to accomplish our mutual goal.

Danny G. Boyd

Glen Burnie

The writer is president of the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce.

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