Banned guns not preferred by criminals

November 29, 1997

Your Nov. 20 editorial, "Ending assault-gun imports," showed a total lack of knowledge on the subject. First of all, individual firearms dealers do not apply for import licenses directly. Importers and distributors bring these firearms into the county.

Second and more important, these semi-automatic firearms are not used by any army in the world. Soldiers use fully automatic machine guns, not semi-automatic rifles. The firearms in question cannot fire any faster than any commercially available hunting semi-automatic rifle.

The firearms being banned from import are actually less powerful than any standard hunting cartridge used for deer hunting in this country. Military caliber ammunition is designed to wound, not -- kill, enemy soldiers. Wounded soldiers must be removed from battle by other soldiers, thus taking more of them off of the battlefield. Ask any military expert and he or she will confirm this fact.

Third, according to the FBI, all long guns, (rifles, including the ones being banned, and shotguns), are used in fewer than 1.5 percent of all crimes in the United States. Since these guns are subject to Maryland's seven-day waiting period and a state police background check, few reach the hands of criminals. These guns are simply not used in many crimes. They are 4 feet long, weigh up to 10 pounds and are hardly concealable.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening claims the one-gun-a-month law has reduced the rate of Maryland crime. According to FBI figures reported the same day as the governor's praise of one-gun-a-month, violent crime has declined across the country for the last two years. No credit can be given to a law that only went into effect 12 months ago. This is smoke and mirrors.

The primary purpose of the Second Amendment is to arm a "well-regulated militia," meaning every able-bodied U.S. citizen. I would ask The Sun check its facts before writing editorials condemning any type of firearm. You would find that the facts do not support your theory.

anford Abrams

Owings Mill

The writer is vice president the Maryland Licensed Firearms Dealers Association.

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